The Philippines’ Department of Agriculture (DA) said on Thursday that consumers should brace for an increase in the retail prices of rice and vegetables. This comes after Super Typhoon “Kardin” (international name: Noru) destroyed the country’s farm sector.
Domingo Panganiban, Agriculture Senior Undersecretary, stated that they were expecting a spike of 15 to 20 percent in the prices of food items as the rice-producing region of Central Luzon suffered the most from the typhoon.
Super Typhoon “Karding” wiped out about PHP 2.02 billion worth of agricultural produce. The rice sector accounted for around 82% or PHP 1.6 billion of the recorded damage. “Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Pampanga, Bulacan, and Quezon are among the affected provinces, with more than 20 percent of the total area planted destroyed,” Panganiban said during a briefing.
Aside from the rice sector, high-value crops, corn, fisheries, livestock, and poultry also suffered millions in losses.
The livelihood of around 91,944 farmers and fishers took the brunt of Karding. The volume of production loss was estimated at 117,663 metric tons (MT) involving 150,693 ha of land.
Panganiban assured the farmers and fishermen that the government would help them recover from losses, stating, “We will give about 70 million rice seeds, P83.16 million worth of corn seeds, and P13.5 million worth of assorted vegetable seeds.”
Panganiban also assured the public that despite the damage caused by the typhoon, there would be enough supply of rice for the coming holiday season. The local rice production for 2022 was estimated at 19.5 million MT, lower than the 19.96 million MT from the previous year. Farm yields for this year have been affected by skyrocketing prices of fuel and fertilizer.
“For now we have enough. We’re hoping that the current cropping harvest will be good enough until 2023,” Panganiban said. The DA also assured that the rice supply would have an ending stock of 2.23 million MT, a reserve level good enough for 60 days that follow the 60-day buffer stocking mandate of the National Food Authority.
Currently, the retail price for locally-produced well-milled rice is PHP 40/kg, while regular-milled rice stands at PHP 38/kg. Imported well-milled rice retails at PHP 39.50/kg and regular-milled imported rice is priced at PHP 38/kg.