In an interagency meeting yesterday, the Departments of Agriculture, Trade and Finance, and the National Economic and Development Authority agreed to set the SRP on commercial rice at P35 to P38 per kilogram effective this month.
Boy Santos
Government set to impose SRP on imported rice
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - July 18, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The government will impose a suggested retail price (SRP) for imported rice as farmers sought intervention amid the continued decline in farm gate prices due to the liberalization of the industry.

In an interagency meeting yesterday, the Departments of Agriculture, Trade and Finance, and the National Economic and Development Authority agreed to set the SRP on commercial rice at P35 to P38 per kilogram effective this month.

“We came up with the solution.We will now be using the Price Act as basis in addressing the uncontrollable prices in the market. We are now drafting a joint MOA (memorandum of agreement) to implement this,” Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said in a briefing.

“The SRP of imported commercial rice we will set will be based on the landed cost. We will come up with a formulation to check the accepted profit for consumers to really feel the benefits of the tariffication law,” he said.

Farmers have been complaining of the plunge in palay farmgate prices to a low of P12 per kilo in some areas from the P20 per kilo before the law took effect four months ago.

However, retail prices of rice have only dropped by up to P2 per kilo even with the deluge of imported rice. The economic team earlier promised that prices would decline by as much as P7 a kilo.

“We saw the loopholes of the law, traders are so into importing right now because they feel like no one is controlling the prices, their margin of profit is too big. And that is not the intent of the law because the intent is to make affordable rice available to consumers,” Piñol said.

“Because of the good profit, everybody would like to import to the detriment of the Filipino farmers, no one wants to buy local anymore,” he said.

The National Food Authority used to control the volume and pricing of rice, but with the open market, the grains agency has been stripped of its supervisory and regulatory powers over the rice industry.

“The Price Act is the only remaining instrument of government to rationalize the pricing of agricultural products in the market. The President has the right to protect the farmers,” Piñol said.

“We are not talking about the volume here, they can bring in as much as they want, we don’t care, but in terms of prices, that is something that we can actually control,” he added.

“The intention of the move is to allow consumers to feel the tariffication law. Palay prices have dropped but it remains the same in the retail market. This will also address the undervaluation in tariffs,” he said.

IMPORTED RICE SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE
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