Prices of commercial rice going down
Carlo S. Lorenciana (The Freeman) - January 18, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Commercial rice prices have started going down thanks to the influx of imports.


Cebu Market Vendors Cooperative president Erwin Goc-ong confirmed that prices of commercial rice sold in the market have decreased by P4-6 per kilo recently.

"Prices of rice have gone down," the rice trader told The FREEMAN in a phone interview.

In fact, some wholesalers are now trading rice at P1180-1980 per sack from the peak of P2200 per sack last year.

However, prices of local premium variants such as Ganador and Local Ivory have not decreased.

Aside from commercial rice, consumers can also buy themselves the NFA (National Food Authority) rice which is cheaper.

Goc-ong said the NFA rice allocation of accredited retailers also recently went down, depending on the market demand.

NFA rice are sold at P27 and P32 per kilo.

Earlier, the National Economic and Development Authority said the immediate enactment into law of the Rice Tariffication Bill is key to stabilize rice prices and overall inflation rate.

Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said that with rice tariffication, affordable rice can be obtained from various sources and need not be the sole responsibility of the NFA.

The rice tariffication bill amends the two-decade-old Republic Act 8178, otherwise known as the Agricultural Tariffication Act of 1996, and replaces the quantitative restrictions (QR) on rice imports with tariff.

The bill, which was ratified by both chambers of Congress on November 28, 2018, is set to be transmitted to Malacañang for the President’s signature.

Under the new rice importation regime, legitimate rice traders can now import rice sans NFA permits, provided they secure a sanitary and phytosanitary import clearance from the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Plant Industry (DA-BPI) and pay the appropriate tariff to the Bureau of Customs.

The NFA, on the other hand, will focus on ensuring sufficient buffer stocks to address emergency situations.  As there is a need to periodically replenish the buffer stocks, NFA can still sell cheap rice, but to very targeted markets.

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