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Imports, harvest season halt soaring prices of rice

/ 10:59 AM October 18, 2018

Officials of the Bureau of Plant Industry along with the National Food Authority conduct sampling on the sacks of imported rice from Thailand inside MV Emperor 1 docked at the Tabaco City port in August 2018. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / MICHAEL B. JAUCIAN / INQUIRER SOUTHERN LUZON

Consumers are now starting to feel relief as prices of rice in the market began to decline with the arrival of rice imports and the beginning of the harvest season.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said on his Facebook page that reports coming in from different regions across the country showed reduction in the prices of commercial rice by as much as P5 a kilogram –- the biggest decline since rice prices began to rise by the beginning of the year.

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The depletion of the government’s rice inventory led for rice prices to shoot up to record levels, and were aggravated by the delayed distribution of the subsidized staple in the market.

In Cabanatuan and La Union, prices of commercial rice have gone down by P5 a kilo and P4 a kilo, respectively, while prices in Metro Manila decreased by P1 a kilo on average.

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The secretary added that they are expecting prices to dip even lower by the last week of the month once the government implements a suggested retail price (SRP) on four rice varieties.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) together with the Department of Trade and Industry are looking to sell imported rice at P38 a kilo, regular local rice at P39 a kilo, well-milled rice at P42 a kilo and whole grain rice at P44 a kilo. The SRP will be reviewed every two weeks.

Meanwhile, farmers are now starting to complain with the sudden fall in the farm-gate price of palay. From a high of P25 a kilo, the crop is now being sold at P16 a kilo, according to DA.

The agency, along with the National Food Authority, has started its rice procurement program with a buying price of P20.70 a kilo. Aside from the additional P3 incentive, the NFA has included incentives like farm machinery and equipment to those local farmers who would sell their harvest to the government. /jpv

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