Saturday, 12 April 2008

Presidente Arroyo to witness the initial unloading of plentiful summer rice harvest of Mindoro


President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will witness the unloading of plentiful Mindoro summer rice harvest initially from five trucks (or about 2,500 sacks) at the port of Batangas City on Monday, April 14.

The five truckloads of commercial rice represent a portion of the second harvest ("palagad") output from April to May of the rice-producing island of Mindoro, considered as the rice granary of southern Luzon.

The start of the second harvest season in many rice producing areas is expected to beef up the the country's rice inventory.

Earlier, the President directed the National Food Authority (NFA) to procure palay from farmers to beef up its rice inventory that would include eventually the expected entry within the next three months of some
750,000 metric tons of rice from the United States and Vietnam.

NFA Batangas provincial manager Alejo Tamayo said Oriental Mindoro produces five million sacks (250 million kilos) of rice annually including those coming from Mindoro Occidental.

At present, there are 31 Roll-On Roll-Off (RORO) ferry trips daily between Batangas and Calapan City of Montenegro Shipping Lines and Starlite Ferry, aside from the four RORO trips from Abra de Ilog and one from San Jose in Mindoro Occidental that transport rice and other agricultural products to neighboring provinces.

Alejo said Mindoro supplies the rice requirement of Metro Manila, Batangas, Laguna, Rizal, Quezon and even of Panay Island through the RORO ferry system between Roxas, Oriental Mindoro and Caticlan, Aklan.

To ensure supply and stable prices of rice, the President has ordered decisive measures against rice hoarders, and people engage in the diversion of NFA rice to the commercial market, rehabilitation and construction of irrigation facilities and farm-to-market roads, investing in planting, agricultural modernization, and provision of rice subsidies for the poor.

The President said her administration's near-term objective is focused on putting food on every table as the current global rise in the prices of basic commodities like fuel and rice is putting a strain on all hardworking Filipinos, especially the very poor.

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