China drought won’t significantly affect Philippines: Department of Agriculture

China drought won’t significantly affect Philippines: Department of Agriculture

MANILA – The Department of Agriculture (DA) assured Wednesday that the drought in China, which may result in a decline in global rice supply, will not have any significant effect on the Philippines.

Speaking at a Laging Handa briefing, DA Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban said the government has mechanisms in place to boost local production.

Maaaring di tayo masyadong maapektuhan ng drought sa China dahil ang ating production ay medyo maganda ngayong season na ito (We may not be affected by China drought because our production this season is good),” he said.

DA Assistant Secretary Arnel de Mesa earlier said the agency has no supply shortage projections, as it expects “90 percent rice sufficiency for the third quarter of the year.”

De Mesa noted that the country has at least 72 million metric tons for 46 days, while Panganiban noted that the supply will be stabilized as the harvest comes by October and November.

Besides local production, Panganiban said the DA can import rice from Vietnam, Thailand, and other countries with excess local production.

Delayed cash aid

However, the Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG) projected a PHP3 to PHP4 increase in the prices of rice by October.

The SINAG said a rice price hike may happen as the DA was unable to distribute cash aid on time, during the planting season when farm input prices shoot up.

Moreover, Panganiban said only the cash aid via Landbank of the Philippines (LBP), worth PHP5,000 each, was not yet distributed due to some lacking requirements.

Hindi naibigay ng Landbank lang, ang DBP (Development Bank of the Philippines) naibigay ‘yung kanilang portion. Ang Landbank dahil ni-require nila ang Department of Agriculture na magpalitrato ‘yung mga farmer sa kanila sa DA, na wala namang photographer ang DA (Only the Landbank has not distributed [yet], the DBP have already gave their portion. The Landbank requires the DA to take pictures of farmers, the DA have no photographers),” he said.

Panganiban, however, assured he has instructed their regional offices to hasten coordination with the LBP and farmers for distribution.

Senator Imee Marcos, meanwhile, slammed the DA’s delayed distribution of cash aid.

During her visit to the DA for the Young Farmers Challenge-National Capital Region awarding rites, Marcos said the Senate had approved the allocation with urgency long ago.

Sen. Imee Marcos speaks before awardees of the Department of Agriculture’s Young Farmers Challenge

Ang tagal-tagal na niyang pinapangako, noong nakaraang administrasyon pa, kami naman sa Senado, mabilis pa sa alas-kuwatro in-allocate na ‘yung mga pondong ‘yan, eh nasaan (This is long overdue, this has been promised during the previous administration. We in the Senate have speedily allocated the fund, so where is it?)” she said in an interview.

Agriculture Undersecretary Kristine Evangelista explained that the requirement which affected the distribution of Landbank, is part of “digitalization” where intervention monitoring cards for farmers are needed, a card likened to ATM functions.

In an earlier statement, the LBP vowed to speed up its distribution to farmers who are yet to receive their assistance.

“Landbank is cognizant of the need for government cash assistance to reach marginalized Filipinos, especially our farmers. We assure the public that these limited and precious resources are being managed with utmost prudence, and we will continue to work closely with the DA for the immediate release of the cash grants,” Landbank President Cecilia Borromeo said.

The LBP added that farmers are expected to receive their PHP5,000 cash aid by Sept. 7. (PNA)


By Stephanie Sevillano August 31, 2022, 5:54 pm