In its regular update on palay (unhusked rice), rice and corn prices, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said the average wholesale price of well-milled rice on a weekly basis decreased by 1.24 percent to P45.45 per kilo during the first week of this month.
Michael Varcas
‘Rice prices slowly going down’
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - October 20, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — After several months of increase, the prices of rice and sugar are slowly going down, following the arrival of imports and the peak of harvest season, agencies of the Department of Agriculture (DA) yesterday noted.

In its regular update on palay (unhusked rice), rice and corn prices, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said the average wholesale price of well-milled rice on a weekly basis decreased by 1.24 percent to P45.45 per kilo during the first week of this month.

But this is still 16 percent higher than the P39.24 per kilo level in the same period last year.

Its weekly average retail price also decreased by a percentage to P49 per kilo, but year-on-year price is up 16 percent.

The wholesale price of regular-milled rice was P42.64 per kilo, 1.2 percent below the previous week. Its average retail price also decreased one percent to P45.87 per kilo.

The average price of palay went down to P21.86 per kilo.

Prices are expected to further go down as the DA will start enforcing a suggested retail price (SRP) for both imported and local rice starting Oct. 23.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said rice sold will only be classified as regular milled, well-milled, premium and special rice.

For imported regular milled rice, SRP is P37 per kilo while imported well-milled rice is at P40 per kilo.

For local rice, regular milled is at P39 per kilo and well-milled at P44 per kilo.

SRP for premium rice will still be discussed while there will be no SRP for special rice.

The SRPs will initially apply to Metro Manila and nearby provinces in Central and South Luzon.

The SRPs for Northern Luzon, Bicol, the Visayas and Mindanao will be set by the interagency National Food Authority (NFA) Council on Oct. 23. Also expected to be decided on will be the SRPs for supermarkets.

NFA said more farmers are selling their palay to the grains agency following the buffer stocking incentive of P3 per kilo.

NFA said the extra P3 per kilo incentive is over and above the agency’s buying price, bringing the agency’s buying price for clean and dry palay to P20.40 per kilo for individual farmers and P20.70 per kilo for farmer-cooperatives.

Meanwhile, as sugar imports start arriving, farm gate price of the commodity has now dropped by nearly 20 percent, the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) reported.

SRA administrator Hermenegildo Serafica said farm gate price is now at the P1,600-level after breaching the P2,000 per 50-kilogram mark, or 18 percent lower from prices at the end of milling season in July.

“Since the start of the milling season on Sept. 1 and the issuance of the order on sugar imports, prices of sugar have been on a downward trend,” Serafica said.

To date, 64,475 metric tons out of the 150,000 MT will start entering the country.

“SRA continues to monitor prices in the supermarkets and wet markets and those selling higher than prevailing prices are asked to explain,” Serafica added.

The DA-attached agency has already started linking supermarkets with mills and refineries for the direct order of sugar at lower cost.

“I have been speaking to planters’ associations, planters’ federations and millers and they have agreed to make their sugar available at their offices to sell directly to the ordinary consumers at P50 for refined, P45 for washed and P41 for raw,” Serafica said.

SRA is also encouraging planters’ associations to sell directly to the local groceries in their area.

SRA has proposed to impose SRP on sugar at P55 per kilo, as some markets still sell at a high of P65 per kilo.

Riding out inflation

Malacañang yesterday assured the public that the country will be able to weather the impact of 6.2 percent inflation in the third quarter of this year.

President Duterte has been updated about the inflation rates and he has directed the country’s economic managers to ensure that rising prices of goods are addressed to ensure food on every table for the Filipinos, presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said.

 “(Duterte’s) marching order to concerned members of his Cabinet is to ensure that there is food on every Filipino family’s table,” Panelo said.

Panelo reiterated that the President has issued orders to temper the prices of goods by removing non-tariff rates on importations.

“Together with the Filipino people, we look forward to seeing the results of this decisive action by our Chief Executive,” Panelo said.

“We are confident that a disinflationary trend, as per our economic mangers, is about to begin and be felt by our countrymen this month,” Panelo added, adopting the position of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

Panelo said Malacañang supports the BSP and the Department of Finance in addressing the issue.

“We agree on the measures it has undertaken relative to inflation. On our part, the departments concerned have pushed for measures that cushion the impact of inflation,” Panelo said. 

 “The President ordered the liberalization on importation of rice and food supply including fish as well as chicken by the private sector. By such measure the prices of rice and other food items have started to taper down and favorable and adequate supply is assured,” Panelo added. 

He noted that the President has also ordered the formation of composite teams of DA, Department of Trade and Industry, farmers groups and law enforcement agencies to prevent the diversion of rice and other food imports from the ports to warehouses. 

“Subsidies for oil and gasoline purchases by the transport sector are also expected to moderate fares,” Panelo said. “All told, the monetary and non-monetary measures undertaken are producing the desired effects.” – With Christina Mendez

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE INFLATION PHILIPPINE STATISTICS AUTHORITY
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