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May 2024

Retailers urge government: Lift rice price caps

MANILA, Philippines — The government should lift the rice price ceiling as retail prices of the grains have started to decline amid the ongoing palay harvest, according to the Grains Retailers Confederation of the Philippines (Grecon).

“The inflow of rice in the market has improved because of the harvest. The harvest started for weeks already and it is expected to peak at the end of the month until October (2023). We observed that many retailers are now selling good quality rice at P41, P42 until P45 (per kilo),” Grecon national spokesman Orly Manuntag said yesterday.

Executive Order 39 imposed a P41 and P45 per kilo price ceiling on regular and well-milled rice on Sept. 5.

Meanwhile, sari-sari store owners affected by the price ceiling will receive cash assistance this week, Malacañang announced yesterday.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), in coordination with the Department of Trade and Industry, will distribute cash aid from Sept. 25-29 upon the directive of President Marcos.

A P15,000 cash aid will be distributed to sari-sari store owners, according to DSWD spokesman Romel Lopez.

Based on its latest report, the DSWD said it has released P92.415 million worth of financial assistance to 6,161 out of the targeted 8,390 micro and small rice retailers nationwide affected by the price cap.

As for the buying price of palay or unhusked rice, Manuntag noted that the recent increase from P19 per kilo to P23 per kilo will protect farmers as the farmgate price of palay dropped following the implementation of the price ceiling.

Marcos on Sept. 18 announced that the National Food Authority (NFA) Council has set new buying prices for palay to increase the income of farmers.

But despite the increased palay buying price, some farmers in Nueva Ecija are not selling their palay to the NFA as private traders offer more than P23 per kilo, according to farmers’ group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP).

The KMP and the Federation of Free Farmers are urging Congress to increase the NFA’s 2024 budget to allow the agency to procure 20 percent of the local palay production and bring back the cheaper NFA rice in the markets. — Helen Flores, Mark Ernest Villeza QR Code

Published Date: September 25, 2023

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