Bicol rice retail prices hit P75/kilo

Bella Cariaso - The Philippine Star
Bicol rice retail prices hit P75/kilo
A rice vendor inspects his products at a public market in Paco, Manila on September 6, 2023 after President Bongbong Marcos Jr. imposed a nationwide price ceiling for regular milled rice at P41 per kilo and P45 per kilo for well-milled rice.
STAR / Ernie Penaredondo

MANILA, Philippines — Retail prices of rice in Bicol have reached P75 per kilo, according to watchdog group Bantay Bigas.

The spokesperson for the group, Cathy Estavillo, cited monitoring which showed that rice prices in the region ranged between P60 to P75 per kilo.

Estavillo said the increase in rice prices continues despite a report by the Philippine Statistics Authority that palay production in 2023 increased to 20.05 million metric tons compared to 19.75 million MT in 2022.

She said consumers do not feel the increase in palay production, noting that retail prices of rice in 2023 were the highest in 14 years.

”This means that the palliative measures of the government like extending tariff on imported rice, distribution of food stamps and implementation of subsidy did not help as the spike in rice prices continues,” Estavillo said.

Bantay Bigas had earlier issued a warning on the increase in hunger incidence amid the continued spike in retail prices of rice.

Estavillo said retailers have noted a drop in the volume of rice that consumers buy in the market.

“As far as the supply is concerned, we have a lot of supply (of rice) in the markets. The problem is the high retail prices. The lowest retail price in Metro Manila markets is P54 per kilo,” she said.

Monitoring by the Department of Agriculture showed that the retail price of local regular milled rice has increased to P53 per kilo; local well-milled rice, P55; local premium rice, P60; local special rice, P68; imported well-milled rice, P56; imported premium rice, P62, and imported special rice, P65.

Estavillo blamed Republic Act 11203 or the Rice Tariffication Law for price manipulation and hoarding.

“Our farmers also experience involuntary hunger. The free distribution of farms, and support services for farmers are necessary to boost the local palay production,” she said.

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