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Ex-DA chief: Spike in rice retail prices to continue

A store retailer displays rice and their prices in accordance with the nationwide implementation of the new price caps on rice on September 5, 2023.

MANILA, Philippines — The retail price of rice will continue to go up as the lowest cost of the staple was at P52 per kilo, former agriculture secretary Leonardo Montemayor said yesterday.

“I will not be surprised if the retail price (of rice) will continue to increase as the farmgate price of palay reached around P30 per kilo, and if you convert it to rice, it’s times two, that’s P60,” Montemayor said in a radio interview.

He added that the retail price of imported grains is also increasing.

“The government resorted to importation to prevent a shortage in the supply, but the prices in the world market also went up and there is also the threat of El Niño,” Montemayor said.

He also questioned the veracity of the claim of the Department of Agriculture (DA) that the country has enough supply of the staple food until March 2024.

According to Montemayor, the Federation of Free Farmers has been questioning the accuracy of the projection in the rice inventory.

“We have been asking whether the data, analysis and projections of the official government statistics agency, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) is accurate. We already wrote a letter around June this year, we asked if the data on the supply of rice was accurate as there is a big discrepancy between the report of the PSA compared to the data of the DA and the private sector,” Montemayor said.

He expressed hope that Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. will fix the problem.

“It (system) needs to be reviewed. Hopefully, Secretary Laurel will be able to enforce important reforms,” Montemayor said.

At the same time, he said that Laurel should include the farmers in implementing reforms at the DA.

“It is the poor who suffer because of wrong decisions,” Montemayor said.

Based on the monitoring of the DA in Metro Manila markets, the retail price of local regular milled rice was sold for as high as P52 per kilo; local well-milled rice, P57 per kilo; local premium rice, P60 per kilo; local special rice, P68 per kilo.

Imported well-milled rice was sold at P52 per kilo; imported premium rice, P60 per kilo and imported special rice, P65 per kilo.

Laurel has issued Memorandum Circular 53 directing all importers to utilize the sanitary and phytosanitary import clearance granted to them within 30 days amid reports of rampant non-utilization of the permits, and added that he recognized the need to protect the welfare of local farmers and producers and the need to ensure food security. QR Code

Published Date: December 9, 2023

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