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Marcos optimistic on lower rice prices

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. led on Friday the distribution of 1,200 sacks of rice to 1,200 Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the distribution of assistance from the Department of Agriculture (DA) to farmers in General Trias, Cavite.

MANILA, Philippines — President Marcos expressed optimism yesterday that the harvesting of palay or unhusked rice would lower rice prices as he expressed readiness to ease rice price controls once the market prices of the food commodity go down.

Speaking to reporters in Camarines Sur, Marcos said it is impossible for price adjustments in agricultural goods not to affect other sectors, so the government has undertaken measures to address it.

He cited the imposition of rice rice caps, the giving of assistance to small retailers affected by the price ceilings and the setting of higher buying prices for palay.

“I think once the harvest comes in, because it’s coming in, we are already harvesting and when it comes in, I think we will see prices going lower,” Marcos, also the agriculture secretary, said in Filipino.

“Market forces. Maybe when the market has lower prices, we can ease the control measures we put in place,” he added.

The Marcos administration has implemented price ceilings on regular milled and well-milled rice to mitigate the impact of soaring rice prices and ensure that the food staple remains accessible.

The price cap on regular milled rice is P41 per kilo while the price cap on well-milled rice is P45 per kilo.

The government is also providing financial aid to retailers affected by the policy, which took effect last Sept. 5.

The National Food Authority Council has also raised the buying prices for palay to augment the income of farmers.

The buying price has been adjusted from P19 to P23 per kilo for dry palay and from P16 to P19 per kilo for wet palay.

In a recent video statement, the President said the production cost of farmers ranges from P14 to P15 per kilo, so the adjusted prices would increase their income.

Last Thursday, National Economic and Development Authority Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said the government would consider other options to stabilize rice prices since the implementation of price caps is just temporary.

Enough but…

In a speech during the distribution of rice to about 2,000 beneficiaries in Iriga City yesterday, Marcos gave assurance that the country has enough supply of the staple, but admitted that the distribution efforts have to be improved.

“The price was so high, so we were forced to set price caps. But the distribution is not enough,” he said.

“We have lots of rice although they are not being released properly. So, the supply is not a problem in the Philippines,” the President added.

Marcos said the DA is expecting a better palay harvest this year, but the government has to fix the system related to processes in the farm sector such as planting, research and development, processing, distribution, marketing and retail.

He expressed hope that the public would soon feel the improvements in the production side.

The rice distribution led by Marcos benefited households who are covered by the government’s cash transfer program.

https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2023/09/24/2298591/marcos-optimistic-lower-rice-prices QR Code

Published Date: September 24, 2023

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