DA official disputes need for new rice price cap

DA official disputes need for new rice price cap

Rice remains pricey, drives Sept inflation

Prices of many rice varieties remain high as seen in this stall in Quezon City on Oct. 4, the day the President lifted the price cap on the staple food. —GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

An official of the Department of Agriculture (DA) disputed an agricultural group’s proposal to reimpose a price ceiling on rice prices, with its official saying on Thursday it is only a temporary solution aimed at easing upward pressures on retail prices.

“[Any] price cap should really be a short-term one. I don’t think we will resort to that,” Agriculture Undersecretary Mercedita Sombilla said when asked about Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura’s (Sinag) recommendation to reimpose the P45-per-kilogram price ceiling for well-milled rice.


Sombilla said DA will look into other measures, such as “encouraging” domestic farmers to bring their produce to Metro Manila to make the staple food more affordable for Filipino consumers through various interventions.


“We were really forced to impose a price cap because we were not seeing local prices going down,” she said on the sidelines of the International Rice Congress 2023 held in Pasay City. “We really wanted it to be very, very short.”She opined that even the one-month implementation of the price cap was “a little long.”

Early in August, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. issued Executive Order No. 39 on the enforcement of a price ceiling of P41 per kg for regular-milled rice and P45 for the well-milled variety which took effect on Sept. 5.

Mr. Marcos, concurrently serving as the country’s agriculture chief, made the issuance on the joint recommendation of the DA and the Department of Trade and Industry to address rising food prices.At that time, market vendors in Metro Manila were selling regular-milled and well-milled rice from P48 to P55 per kg.

Now, locally produced regular-milled rice is sold from P41 to P45 per kg as of Thursday against P38 per kg in the same period a year ago, based on the DA’s price monitoring. Local well-milled rice is priced from P45 to P48 per kg against P42 per kg.

Imported regular milled rice is sold for P43 per kg, higher than last year’s P38 per kg while imported well-milled rice retailed from P45 to P48 per kg compared to P41 per kg previously.

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Yet, wanting to preempt new attempts to create an artificial increase in the retail price, Sinag said it would ask President Marcos to intervene by reinstituting the price cap of P45 per kg for well-milled rice, acting on the recommendation of its members from farmers and local millers.

Sinag executive director Jayson Cainglet said the group will submit its formal request to the President upon his return from the maiden summit between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the Gulf Cooperation Council in Saudi Arabia.

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Cainglet said some traders and millers are purchasing palay (unhusked rice) between P21 and P23.50 per kg of fresh harvest and P26 to P29 per kg of dry palay, higher than the prevailing farm-gate price (selling price between farmers and traders).

TAGS: cap, DA, Price, rice

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