RICE ‘SHORTAGE’: Piñol blasts ‘robbery’ by ‘greedy’ traders
Commercial rice should only cost around P36 per kilo in the market even as the National Food Authority (NFA) announced a shortage in its low-priced stocks, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel “Manny” Piñol said Thursday.
“Rule of thumb, the price of rice in the market should only be double the buying price of palay. Kung ang bili sa magsasaka ay P18, dapat ang presyo ng bigas sa merkado ay P36 (If it is bought from farmers at P18, then the price in the market should be P36),” Piñol said.
Piñol made the statement amid reports of the prices of commercial rice going up, especially after the NFA said that its inventory was running low.
The agriculture secretary clarified that only the NFA was having a shortage in its rice stocks and not the country, which he said is facing a “record” surplus of the staple.
Piñol said “greedy” rice traders were taking advantage of the reported shortage in NFA stocks “to justify the increase in the price of rice in the market” and the “additional importation of rice from Vietnam or Thailand.”
He said unscrupulous rice traders were committing “daylight robbery” by jacking up the prices of commercial rice.
Citing experts, Piñol said that if traders bought rice from farmers at P18 and sold it in the market for P36, they would already gain a profit of P200 for every 50 kilos of grain. This does not include earnings from selling the husk and the rice bran, he said, speaking to radio dzMM.
“Kaya itong presyuhan ng P40, P45, P50 o P60 ay daylight robbery. Hayagang nakawan ito (That’s why prices at P40, P45, P50 o P60 are daylight robbery. This is plain robbery),” he said.
The NFA said rice traders were buying farmers’ produce from P18 to P20 per kilo. It could only offer to buy rice from farmers at P17 per kilo.
Prices of commercial rice have reportedly gone up by about P3 per kilo since the NFA announced that it was experiencing a shortage in its stocks.
The NFA said the shortage was so dire that it was stopping the distribution of low-priced rice to many public markets. /cbb
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