Cebu rice prices increase by P4/kgBy Carine Asutilla
CEBU CITY—Cebu’s famous “puso,” rice wrapped in coconut leaves, has shrunk.
Makers of the delicacy were forced to decrease the size of puso in order to keep its current price after prices of commercial rice here went up by P4 per kilogram.
One of them was Cresencia Tanyag, a puso maker on Ramos Street in Cebu City.
She said that in the middle of this month, she decided to make her puso smaller to allow her to keep the product’s current price at P2 a piece.
Her puso is usually a mixture of rice from the National Food Authority (NFA) and commercial rice.
Small eateries have also decided to increase prices of cooked rice in their establishments.
“We used to sell [rice at] P7 per cup, but now we raised it to P8 because ‘sinandomeng’ rice is now at P38 [per kg]. It used to be P34. We have no choice,” said eatery owner Christina Soledad.
Edwin Sabillano, one of the rice vendors at a public market in Barangay T. Padilla here, said the prices of commercial rice have gone up by P4 per kg since the first week of July.
“We have no choice because our supplier in Mandaue City (Cebu) also raised his price for every bag of rice. If we don’t keep up, we get nothing for our small business,” Sabillano said.
He now sells a kilogram of well-milled sinandomeng rice at P38 per kg from only P34 per kg.
Even the price of broken rice has gone up from P30 to P34 per kg, Sabillano said. The NFA sells its rice at P32 per kg and corn grits at P27 per kg.
The increase in the prices of commercial rice has also affected the price of puso and cooked rice in eateries.
The NFA, however, said there was no cause for concern because the prices of commercial rice usually increase from June to September, which are nonharvest months.
Efren Sabong, NFA director in Central Visayas, said that since July 1, the prices of commercial premium rice in the market increased from P1-P2 per kg, based on their monitoring of big markets in Central Visayas.
But the region has an inventory of 1.3 million bags of rice in NFA warehouses, 1.2 million of these are being kept in Cebu, it being the region’s rice depot, Sabong said.
He said that the NFA is also expecting at least 60,000 bags of rice to arrive from a supplier from the Southern Tagalog region. The first load of between 20,000 and 25,000 bags are expected to arrive this weekend.
“We can use this as middle-priced rice that we can sell at P32 per kg. These are well-milled rice that can compete with commercial rice. This will help balance the prices,” said Sabong.
He said that the additional rice supply would keep commercial rice suppliers from taking advantage of the lean months and dampen prices of commercial rice.
Sabong added that Central Visayas has been classified as a rice deficient area, “meaning when calamities occur in other parts of the country, Central Visayas will be the last to share a percentage of its rice supply to the tragedy-hit areas in the country,” he said.