Despite low palay prices, PH to keep importing rice
The Department of Agriculture (DA) will not suspend the issuance of rice import permits anytime soon, despite the prodding of farmer groups whose profits are expected to be trimmed further as the harvest season nears.
In a phone interview with Inquirer, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said that even before the rice tariffication law came into effect, rice prices usually go down in the second half. Thus, low palay prices cannot be blamed on the arrival of imported rice. Also, there has only been a slight uptick in import volumes.
According to DA data shared by Dar, palay prices are currently averaging P14 a kilogram, 20 percent lower than the first half average of P17.42 a kilo.
Dar said, however, that the DA had requested importers not to bring in the imported rice during the main harvest to give priority to local producers.
Last year, however, the DA suspended for about two months the issuance of sanitary and phytosanitary
import clearances for rice to lift local palay rates. INQ
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