The country's total rice inventory at the start of the year rose by almost 10 percent to over two million metric tons on the back of higher stocks in commercial entities.
Latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed that rice stocks inventory as of Jan. 1 stood at 2.03 million metric tons (MT), 177,000 MT higher than the 1.85 million MT recorded in the same period last year.
'Month-on-month, the volume of rice stocks inventory recorded an increment of 6.9 percent from the previous month's 1.9 million metric tons,' the PSA said.
The country's rice inventory last month was the highest in the past one year and was also the first time that stocks of the grain returned to two million MT level since December 2022.
PSA data showed that out of the three sectors that it regularly surveyed, only the commercial entities posted higher rice inventory during the reference period.
Rice stocks in the commercial sector expanded by half year-on-year to 978,000 MT from 651,930 MT last year, according to the PSA.
Meanwhile, rice stocks in households and National Food Authority (NFA) warehouses in January declined on an annual basis.
The PSA said rice stocks in NFA warehouses plunged by 57.6 percent to 48,680 MT, while household inventory declined by 7.7 percent to one million MT.
The PSA added that households accounted for 49.4 percent of the January rice inventory followed by the commercial sector at 48.2 percent and NFA depositories at 2.4 percent.
'In comparison to the December 2023 rice stocks levels, a month-on-month increase was noted in the commercial sector by 14.8 percent, and in the household sector by 1.4 percent,' it said.
'On the other hand, rice stocks inventory from the NFA depositories decreased by 14.8 percent,' it added.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) earlier assured the public that the country would have sufficient rice supplies in the first half.
This would be made possible by the anticipated entry of rice imports coupled by the dry season harvest that is expected to peak around March or April, according to the DA.
The country produced a record high volume of palay or unmilled rice in 2023 at 20.059 million MT, 1.53 percent over the 19.756 million MT recorded output in 2022.
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