The Philippines is now in the midst of the typhoon season but Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala said he does not see food prices going up.
The Philippines has enough supply of food despite the damage wreaked by a number of typhoons that have visited the country, the most recent of which is Tropical Storm Gener (international name Saola), Alcala said.
“I think the storms should not impact on prices that much. We have ample supply of food so I see no reason for prices to shoot up,” he said at a news briefing on Tuesday at the 8th review and implementation support for the second phase of the Mindanao Rural Development Program held in Quezon City.
The agriculture secretary warned unscrupulous traders against raising their prices. Based on initial figures released by the DA Central Action Center (Dacac), Gener damaged P17.66 million worth of crops in Regions 2 and 3.
The DA offices the two regions reported that 8,391 hectares of farmlands were affected by the storm. These were rice and corn areas in the provinces of Cagayan, Bataan, Nueva Ecija, and Tarlac.
Dacac said damage to rice was the biggest at P14.74 million. Affected were 7,536 hectares of farmlands, mostly in their seedling and vegetative stages, in four provinces.
“The volume of palay lost from the 275 hectares in the reproductive/maturity stage is estimated at 105 metric tons [MT]. Only 967 hectares were deemed completely damaged while 6,569 hectares have chances of recovery,” the Dacac report read.
Corn losses were valued at P2.92 million. The typhoon affected 855 hectares in Cagayan. Most of the areas were also in the seedling and vegetative stages.
“About 64 MT of corn are deemed lost from the 103 hectares in the reproductive stage,” said Agriculture Undersecretary Joel S. Rudinas in his memorandum to Alcala.
Despite the damages caused by previous typhoons, Alcala expressed confidence the Philippines would not be lacking in rice, the country’s staple food.
He noted that the early cropping scheme for the wet season would increase paddy-rice output by around 720,000 MT this year.
The Philippines aims to be self-sufficient in rice by next year.