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Harvests ease Pangasinan rice prices

/ 05:20 AM October 17, 2018

SUN-DRIED A farmer dries freshly harvested palay (unhusked rice) on a pavement along the national highway in Aguilar town, Pangasinan. The start of harvest may have helped bring down rice prices in the province, local traders say. —WILLIE LOMIBAO

ROSALES, Pangasinan — Prices of rice in Pangasinan province have gone down by at least P5 per kilogram in the past two weeks, a rice trader here said recently.

Well-milled rice sold for P40 per kilo in retail stores as palay (unhusked rice) prices dropped at the start of the harvest season, said Roger Tan, who owns a rice mill here.

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A 50-kilo sack of rice used to sell for P2,200 but had been priced at P2,000 while a 50-kilo sack of imported commercial rice had been sold for P2,100, Tan said.

Farmers, who harvested earlier, sold their palay for P27 a kilo.

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When floods struck Pangasinan in August and September, farmers sold their palay for P20 to P22 a kilo, but traders were now buying palay for P23 a kilo, he said.

Harvest not finished

Palay prices may go down further to P21 a kilo toward December as farmers continue to harvest, he said. Only 20 percent of the farms in Pangasinan have been harvested so far.

Last month, Nestor Batalla, assistant provincial agriculturist, told the provincial board that lower rice production was expected in the province this year after the destruction of 14,000 hectares of rice farms by Typhoon “Ompong” (international name: Mangkhut).

It would be too late to rehabilitate these farms this first cropping season, and planting may start in November or December when the second cropping season starts, Batalla said.

Pangasinan, the country’s third largest rice-producing province, posted a 1.3-million metric ton production last year, making the province rice self-sufficient, Batalla said.

Nueva Ecija queue

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In Nueva Ecija province, people still lined up last week for rice distributed by the National Food Authority (NFA) despite the start of harvest, as commercial rice remained expensive in the market.

The NFA also imported high-quality rice stocks, said Demosthenes Mananguit, president of a group of rice retailers accredited by the NFA here.

“NFA rice now is white, has no foul odor or ‘bukbok’ (weevils), and is a lot cheaper at P32 per kilo,” he said.

The prevailing farm gate price of short grain palay is P19 a kilo while long grain sold for P20-21 a kilo.

Local palay traders mill rice sold at the market while big rice mills deliver their stocks to Metro Manila markets. —REPORTS FROM GABRIEL CARDINOZA AND ANSELMO ROQUE

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TAGS: Nestor Batalla, NFA, palay prices, rice prices, Rice Supply
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