GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/ 14 September)—The National Food Authority (NFA) has beefed up its buffer rice stocks here and the neighboring areas with an additional 120,000 bags of imported rice from Vietnam.
Lester Malana, NFA manager for Sarangani province and this city, said the imported rice supplies recently arrived at the city’s Makar Wharf and were delivered to NFA warehouses here and in the provinces of Davao del Sur, South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat.
He said this city and Sarangani province received the bulk of the rice stocks with 75,000 bags while the provinces of South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat got 20,000 bags each.
Davao del Sur received 5,000 bags to augment the rice requirements of Digos City, he said.
Aside from the imported rice supplies from the NFA central office, Malana said they continually raise their buffer stocks to ensure a steady supply for local markets.
He said they fill up the area’s supply gap by buying palay and rice stocks from surplus areas like South Cotabato and other rice-producing localities in the region.
“We usually stock up to a maximum of 15 percent (of our requirement) during lean months but it’s now down to just one percent because palay harvests in the neighboring areas are ongoing and there are regular sources that we can tap,” he said.
Malana said their standby rice stocks for this city and Sarangani is currently at 106,000 bags, which would last for 15 days based on the area’s requirements.
Data from the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) showed that this city and Sarangani province are considered deficit areas for rice.
Based on the food consumption survey of the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics on the region’s annual per capita rice consumption, the rice requirements of this city and Sarangani province stood at 95,809 and 57,579 metric tons (MT), respectively.
In 2011, Sarangani was only 46.9 percent rice self-sufficient after its total rice production just reached 26,996 MT.
Sarangani’s seven municipalities have an estimated population of 513,108 and an annual per capita rice consumption of 112.216 kilograms (kgs).
DA and NSCB did not release any production data for palay for this city, which has an estimated population of 604,887 and an annual per capita rice consumption of 158.392 kgs. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)