Despite the Government’s efforts to bring down the prices of rice through increased production of palay and decline in farm gate prices in the first quarter of the year, a continued uptick has been noted by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) that indicates disrupted connection in the country’s agricultural value chain.
MANILA — According to the PSA, it appears that even with the availability of imported rice, made possible by the Rice Tariffication Law, the measure has had little effect on the retail prices of the staple, thus suggesting how the different stages in the supply chain—from the farms or the ports (for imports) to the retail market—have been easily bloating retail prices.
In recent analysis, PSA data shows that palay production in the first quarter stood at 4.9 million metric tons, up 0.5 percent from last quarter and up 9 percent from the level in the same period last year. The Department of Agriculture (DA) said that this was the country’s highest harvest on record for the first quarter, mainly attributed to the increase in the areas harvested and yield.
Agriculture secretary William Dar discloses, the increase in harvest has led to a decline in farm gate prices by 7.5 percent to ₱17.10 per kilogram from the prevailing rate in the previous quarter.
In spite of this, though, PSA records also shows that retail prices of rice still went up by some two percent to an average of ₱42.14 per kilo in the first quarter as compared to prices in the previous quarter and in the same period last year.
“This represents an average mark-up of ₱25.04 per kilo of rice,” Dar says.
Because of these developments, economic managers of the Duterte administration, as well as the DA, have expressed hope of controlling the increases in the retail prices of rice by imposing tariff cuts on rice imports. Industry leaders, however, are skeptical about the proposal, saying that this would still be felt by consumers.
As of last year, about 90 percent of the country’s staple requirements were supplied by local production, while the rest was imported from other rice-producing countries, particularly Vietnam. (LO/The MiNT)