Palay prices hit lowest in 8 years
The average farm gate price of palay has slid to its lowest in eight years, according to the data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
Based on the latest weekly price monitoring report of the PSA, a kilo of palay was sold at an average of P15.96 during the third week of September, down 1.4 percent and 30.1 percent from week-ago and year-ago levels, respectively.
This was also the lowest since the December 2011 level of between P15.91 and P16.01 a kilo.
During the third week of September this year, the lowest price was recorded in some parts of Bulacan where a kilo of palay was sold at just P10, which was below the estimated breakeven production cost of P12 a kilo.
In Pampanga, Palawan, and Agusan del Sur, the rate was P12 a kilo.
Meanwhile, Guimaras and Bohol recorded the highest average price of P21 a kilo.
In Abra and other parts of Bulacan, a kilo of palay was sold at P20.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) is expected to soon impose a form of safeguard duty on rice to ease the burden of local farmers who continued to be edged out of the market by more affordable imported rice.
However, Agriculture Secretary William Dar has yet to announce the final measure.
The National Food Authority, for its part, aims to exceed its palay procurement target of 14.6 million bags this year.
With the wet season harvest beginning early in some areas, NFA administrator Judy Carol Dansal said the agency already bought 621,430 bags of palay in September alone, bringing the agency’s total procurement this year to 6.6 million bags or 46 percent of its target.
” Historically, we buy more from farmers during the last quarter of the year, and we have increased our buying price so our target is very attainable,” she said.
The DA has also formed a 30-man task force to speed up NFA’s operations by accelerating the rollover of its stocks.
It would also help in purchasing palay in the country’s most affected areas or where prices are lowest.
Nonetheless, the NFA’s target of buying 14.6 million bags of palay this year represents less than 5 percent of the country’s total palay output.
Industry groups Federation of Free Farmers and Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura described these moves by the agency as nothing but short-term, and had been urging the government to proceed with sustainable solutions that could control the flooding of imported rice in the market.