Senate conducts probe on rice and corn cartel
The Senate committee on agriculture will conduct an investigation on the rice and corn cartel that has ensured that rice and corn prices remain high while driving down prices at the farm gate, squeezing the farmers dry.
In a post on his Facebook page, Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol said the senate committee on agriculture will start the investigation on Monday, with officials from the Department of Agriculture and the National Food Authority invited to shed light on the matter.
“The Senate probe came as a result of my personal request to Sen. Pangilinan to look into the very low buying prices of rice and corn by traders all over the country. From a high of P20 per kilo of paddy rice, the price has now plummeted to only P12 to P13 per kilo as the harvest season reached its peak,” Piñol said.
“Corn buying prices, on the other hand, fell from P17 per kilo to only P10 now in many parts of the country.
Traders and middlemen have reasoned out that the fall in the buying price of grains all over the country is a result of oversupply and the lack of storage facilities,” he added. “I have always debunked this reasoning calling it ridiculous simply because the country does not produce enough rice and corn for its needs.”
Piñol said the lack of storage facilities affect the trade of grains but doubted if the lack of supply is really the reason for the high rice prices when prices at the farmgate are low.