Less than P40 per kilo soon? Grain retailers back moves to bring down rice prices
ILOILO CITY — The Grains Retailers Confederation of the Philippines, Inc. (GRECON) has “pledged their support” to bring down the price of rice in the market, said Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol on Tuesday.
The secretary said the commitment was made by GRECON during a dialogue on the sidelines of the Visayas Cluster Food Security Summit held at the Royal Garden Hall Convention Center in this city.
GRECON is composed of all grain retailers association in the country.
Piñol said that aside from the commitment to bring down the prices in Iloilo, they offered to sell their stocks at PHP38 per kilo through the Department of Agriculture’s ‘TienDA’ in Manila.
“We can come up with an agreement,” he said, adding that they hope to start next week.
Jaime O. Magbanua, GRECON national president, said their confederation has long been supportive of the programs of the national government. He said they were the ones who committed for the availability of rice that will be sold in the market at PHP39 a kilo when they were sought by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, at the time when rice prices shot up.
“It was cascaded to the provinces, including all provinces of Western Visayas,” he said. The visit of Piñol was “timely because prices are already going down”, he added.
The buying price of palay fresh from the farm is at PHP15 to PHP16 a kilo. When clean and dry it can go as high as PHP19 per kilo.
The national president also denied that there is rice hoarding but “maybe” there is “price manipulation”, very few in other areas but not in Iloilo.
Magbanua said they will be meeting with stakeholders, including millers, traders, and farmers with huge stocks to be able to come up with rice volume that they could sell to Manila at the price of PHP1800 per bag of 50 kilograms. It can be sold at PHP38 to PHP40 per kilo.
Piñol was dismayed after visiting a public market here where price of rice rose up to PHP60 per kilogram while palay is bought at only PHP15 a kilo. “This is too much. We will have to correct it,” he said in a press conference.
He said starting end of this month, DA will be implementing the suggested retail price for rice in the market, except for the special rice varieties. Also, there will only be four rice classifications – in regular-milled, well-milled, whole grains head rice and special rice.
Likewise, NFA will have a suggested buying price for the palay to protect farmers. He cited that in Iloilo, the grains industry is being controlled by traders.
“They actually manipulate the prices. And there is no rhyme, no reason to manipulate the prices today given the buying price of palay,” he said.
Meantime, Piñol announced that the DA and NFA will be launching the local procurement program for its new buying price for palay at PHP20.70 per kilo in San Jose, Mindoro on October 12.
He added that it will be the most aggressive procurement program of the NFA because President Duterte wanted to stock a lot of palay in preparation for next year.
In Iloilo, the procurement will start in October 19, he said. He also ordered the DA to have a palay drying station where the procurement is being held so that farmers can dry their fresh farm produce. (PNA)