In these times were living in, the Department of Agriculture or other authorities cannot monitor or control every avenue of the Republic. The President and his associates can issue and ask for the public to follow guidelines. However, this will be hard to follow in the days ahead. As the exports of rice from Vietnam will dwindle. Even as the DA has stockpiled enough for 75 days. There will still be questioned, as the public are on lockdown and people cannot move as they used too.
The Luzon is already under quarantine and under direct lockdown. While Mindanao isn’t under that yet. Still, this will stop the movement of rice and other goods. With this in mind and with the COVID-19 or Coronavirus outbreak. The most likely thing to happen, when the public are not allowed to cross checkpoints and leave their homes. The traders, the farmers and everyone involved will need to be compensated. This will make the process more expensive, as well as the ability to import rice from Vietnam and elsewhere will be harder too. With all of those pieces in mind, the price from farm-gate to the consumer will rise.
The DA can by all means, monitor and challenge the rises of prices. They can send out information about their stockpile and the previously bought stock of rise in 2019. However, now in 2020, as people are living and seeing the spread of virus. The stops, roadblocks and lack of imports will make the prices go up. That is common sense.
The stockpiling which was done is positive. That the DA has stocks for three months of ordinary supply is good. However, the ability to transfer, the ability to get the rice moved will be harder. When the army and police is guarding the barangays and the communities. This will hit it and the ports will not as open as before, because the state has already issued guidelines.
With all this in mind, the prices are most likely rising and the basic commodity of rice will go up. Even if the warning letters comes the way of the DA. They cannot stop the inevitable. This is not just scrupulous traders, but usual tendencies when situations like these transpire. If there becomes shortage in Zambonga Del Sur or del Norte. Expect the prices to sudden rise. That because the rice from the stockpile in Luzon isn’t arriving there. The rice from Davao isn’t crossing Mindanao, because of the social distancing and the authorities are blocking the movement. Which likely could happen too.
Even if the ASEAN partners wants to help, they still got their own neck to consider too in this crisis. COVID-19 is hitting worldwide and therefore, the damage is everywhere. Philippines will be hit like everyone else. In this instance with imports of rice, as Vietnam and Thailand is not doing as much as they did in the past. That will affect the prices and will limit the scope. As well, as the other travel advisory and other measures made across Asian nations in concern of exports an so-on.
The DA and the authorities means well, they are trying to signal positivity in the midst of a crisis. However, initial thoughts from me is that with a crisis like this the prices will rise. Unless, the state decrees the prices. They nationalize all parts the food-chain from the farmer to the consumer. Where every party has a fixed price and therefore the rice is costing a much as they set it to be. If they don’t do that, then the prices will spiral and go up. As the fear, the ability locally and in the Barangay’s can use their means to put it up. Since it is less movement, they can initiate a jump of prices and the national authorities cannot follow-up in all areas.
That is why this will most likely happen. It is a force of nature. Even with a giant stockpile. That stockpile is one place and not made across the Republic. The rural Barangay’s will not get their additional loads of rice quickly. Not in this time. Because, the state and authorities doesn’t have the capacity or ability to move that quick. Therefore, there will be change of prices and costs will go up. They can try to stagnate it, but if they wanted to control it. They should do so on decree and nationalize it. Peace.