Rice prices continue to rise
Rice prices showed no signs of declining as it continued to hit a new high in August despite efforts by the government to restrain the acceleration of food prices.
Based on the latest price monitoring report of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), average retail prices of regular and well-milled rice rose to P43.86 and P47.12 a kilo, respectively. Compared to prices last year, these were higher by 15.24 percent and 11.63 percent.
Consequently, farm-gate price for palay rose by 15.89 percent to P22.44 a kilo year-on-year.
Prices for rice and palay continued to register new highs every week since the second week of August. According to Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, prices of the staple might stabilize only by November.
As more and more Filipinos grapple with costlier food items, the National Food Authority (NFA) is gearing itself up to increase its presence in the market.
NFA rice is the only variant that remains affordable at P27 and P32 a kilo, depending on the quality, but its distribution in the market has been minimal.
Lawmakers blamed the agency’s “incompetence and corruption” as the main cause for its lagging operations.
Following an NFA Council meeting this week, the body has instructed its management to increase its presence in the market to at least 20 percent. Currently, about 12.5 percent of the staple available in the market is subsidized.
The grains agency said it would intensify its distribution operations. While an additional 250,000 metric tons (MT) of rice are expected to arrive in the country by the end of the year, NFA spokesperson Rex Estoperez said it would be primarily used to “sustain market participation and beef up our buffer stock.”
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