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Farmers group warns of possible rice supply tightening after June

A farmers’ group over the weekend warned of a possible tightening of rice supplies in the Philippines during the lean months, as the local harvest may be delayed given the prolonged drought.

According to the Federation of Free Farmers Cooperatives, there may be a delay in the harvest as the rains may come in later than the regularly expected last week of May, as the country continues to face the El Niño.

“Baka po magkaroon na naman ng kagipitan po sa supply ng bigas lalo na ‘pag sipa po nung tinatawag na lean months natin—Hulyo, Agosto, Setyembre, baka po kwan, lalo po mag-tighten ‘yung ating supply kasi nga po made-delay ‘yung harvest po natin,” Federation of Free Farmers Cooperatives national manager Raul Montemayor said in an interview on GMA Super Radyo DZBB.

(There may be a tightening in the supply of rice especially when the lean months come — July, August, September, there may be a tightening in our supply because our harvest will be delayed.)

This comes as rains usually come during the month of May, with the harvest season coming in the months of October to December. With the El Niño, however, the state weather bureau PAGASA said the rains may come later, pushing back the planting season of rice.

For its part, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said rice granaries are not majorly affected by the El Niño-induced droughts, given the irrigation systems.

“Malaking bahagi rin naman ng bansa natin, lalo na ‘yung ating mga rice granary, ay hindi naman naapektuhan dahil maganda pa naman ang ating patubig,” he said in Katrina Son's report on GMA’s “24 Oras Weekend” on Sunday.

(A big part of the country, especially the rice granaries, are not affected because we have good irrigation.)

The DA said that even if the harvest for this year declines by 100,000 metric tons, this will be less than 1% of the projected harvest of the country this year estimated at 20.06 million metric tons, adding that the declines in the local harvest may be addressed by imports. — Jon Viktor D. Cabuenas/BM/KG, GMA Integrated News