The Department of Agriculture (DA) projects a 94-day rice surplus by the end of 2020. Based on its rice inventory, the Philippines will have 3.27 million metric tons (MMT) of rice by Dec. 31 this year—meaning there’s enough rice supply for the whole country for 94 more days or until March 2021.

The rice supply inventory comes from three sources: beginning stock or surplus carried over from the previous year, local production, and imports. From these, the total rice supply by yearend is estimated at 17.99 MMT, which is 18 percent above the country’s total rice demand of 14.67 MMT.

“This will settle once and for all the misconceptions espoused by uninformed quarters on the rice supply outlook, as the DA’s estimate is based on the official data of the Philippine Statistics Authority, and validated on the ground by the DA’s regional field offices,” says Agriculture Secretary William Dar.

The DA is also expecting their Rice Resiliency Project (RRP), under the Plant, Plant, Plant Program or Ahon Lahat, Pagkaing Sapat kontra COVID-19, to add at least 1.03 MMT to the current projected local production of 12.76 MMT. This will elevate the country’s sufficiency level by seven percent, from 87 percent to 94 percent.

Under the RRP, farmers are given free quality rice seeds and fertilizers. This is on top of other existing rice programs of the DA such as the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund and National Inbred and Hybrid Rice Program.

“To successfully attain said incremental harvest, we will continue to count on the strong support of local chief executives, particularly of rice-producing provinces and hard work of our beloved farmers,” adds Dar, urging the public to not spread unnecessary panic as the DA is addressing issues concerning national food security.