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Farmers’ group: High retail prices of rice to persist

Bella Cariaso - The Philippine Star
Farmers� group: High retail prices of rice to persist
Farmers harvest rice using sickles in Bocaue, Bulacan on January 2, 2024.
STAR / Jesse Bustos

MANILA, Philippines — High retail prices of rice will persist as imported varieties dominate the local market, farmers’ group Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura president Rosendo So said yesterday.

“Since there is more imported rice in the market, we expect high retail prices this month,” So said in a radio interview.?

The latest Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) data showed that rice imports as of Feb. 16 hit 569,286 metric tons, or 44.28 percent higher than the 394,553 MT combined volume imported in January and February of last year.?

So noted that the farmgate price of palay in Vietnam was at P21 per kilo while the wholesale price reached P50 per kilo.?

“The retail price in the markets reached P52 to P56 per kilo, that’s the prevailing price in Vietnam,” he said.

BPI data showed that more than half of the rice imports or about 327,418.09 MT came from Vietnam, followed by Thailand at 154,234.38 MT and Pakistan at 60,638.3 MT.?

“Our rice imports from Thailand are also high. The 25 percent broken rice is at $585 per metric ton. If you include the delivery freight, it could reach $620 per metric ton and the landed cost is P49 (per kilo). It is about P53 to P54 when it reaches the markets,” So pointed out.

However, all is not bleak as So also expects the retail prices to go down when the harvest season starts on March 15, which also means more local rice supply in the market.

So noted that the present farmgate price of local palay is P24.50 per kilo.?

“It is higher compared to the farmgate price of palay in Vietnam but you will still add the shipping cost (for Vietnam rice),” he said.

Beginning March 15, the group expects retail prices of well-milled rice to go down to P52 per kilo.

The US Department of Agriculture earlier hiked its rice import forecast for the Philippines to 3.9 million MT this year, driven by bigger purchases from Vietnam.?The Philippines imported almost 3.6 million MT of rice last year, down from the record-high 3.82 million MT in 2022.

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