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Extra carbs, please: No letup in downtrend of palay, rice prices

Three months since the government deregulated rice trade, average prices of palay and rice continued to dip as supply continued to flood the market.

Based on the Philippine Statistics Authority’s price monitoring report, the average farm-gate price of palay in June declined by 16.15 percent from year-ago levels to P17.91 a kilogram. The downtrend is now in its sixth month.

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This is also the first time the average farm-gate price of palay hit P17 a kilo after breaching the P25 a kilo mark last year—the highest on record.

Similarly, the average retail price for regular-milled and well-milled rice decreased by 6.83 percent and 2.74 percent to P35.46 a kilo and P43.02 a kilo, respectively.

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Industry leaders who talked to the Inquirer said they were expecting the decline to continue over the next few months.

The anticipated flooding of the market with cheap imported rice have been worrying the country’s farmers.

Economic managers, meanwhile, are expecting a slower inflation in June due to the downward trend in prices.

In an analysis commissioned by the National Economic and Development Authority and the International Food Policy Research Institute, results showed prices of palay might not pick up anytime soon and lands dedicated to rice might be converted.

The report showed palay rates could fall by as much as 26 percent to P13.32 a kilo between 2018 and 2040. About 342,000 hectares of rice lands in the country—79 times the size of Manila—would be repositioned for the planting of high-value crops.

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