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Rice prices seen lower by P4 per kg

Good harvests cited, but group says more rice imports to hurt farmers

Prices of rice are expected to fall by P4 per kilogram as a result of good harvest, but a militant farmers’ organization said farmers are likely to bear the brunt again of the importation of an additional 1.7 million metric tons of the staple.

The group Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (Sinag), which monitors prices and developments in the agriculture industry, said the price of palay (unmilled rice) is expected to decline by at least P3 per kg, which would result in a P4 per kg decline in the price of rice.

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“Since it’s the peak of the harvest season, we estimate that palay price will decrease from P23 a kg to P20 a kg,” said Rosendo So, head of Sinag.

He said this is still favorable to farmers because his group’s computation showed that the production cost for palay is about P12 a kg. The P20 per kg buying price is also higher than the P17 a kg buying price of the National Food Authority.

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With palay price at P20 per kg, So said the mill price of rice would be about P33.20 a kg. This was arrived at by multiplying P20 by 1.66, a factor derived by dividing 83 kg, the amount of palay that will make 50 kg of rice, with 50.

“Add to this trucking costs from traders to outlets, you will have P35.20. When it reaches the retailers, it becomes P37.20 a kg, still lower than the prevailing P42 a kg,” So said.

Asked if this year’s harvest will be enough for the consumption needs of Filipinos, So said there is a need to come up first with an accurate rice consumption figure.

According to the 2012 Survey of Food Demand for Agricultural Commodities conducted by the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS), the annual per capita consumption in 2012 was 114.26 kg. This number is multiplied by the population to determine the country’s annual rice consumption.

During a recent meeting with agriculture officials, So said Agriculture Assistant Secretary Edilberto de Luna, national coordinator for the rice and corn program, told them that about 20 percent of the country’s population eat white corn as staple.

But the militant Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) said farmers are in for more suffering as Francis Pangilinan, presidential adviser on food security, had announced the importation of at least 1.7 million MT of rice.

KMP chair Rafael Mariano, in a statement, said it meant the “dumping of more rice imports in the local market at the expense of local rice farmers.”

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Mariano said instead of rice importation, the government should extend production support services to rice farmers.

He said the Aquino administration has chosen to spend public funds on a “rigged rice importation policy.”

Pangilinan had attributed low rice production to frequent storms and floods.

Mariano, however, said the policies of government are to blame for the ailing rice industry.

“With these kinds of policies, we can expect a higher hunger and poverty incidence until 2016,” he said.

The National Food Authority last month imported 500,000 MT of rice which Mariano said would enter the market during a time of harvest.

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TAGS: agriculture industry, Edilberto de Luna, floods, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, KMP, National Food Authority, price of palay, Rafael Mariano, rice, Rice Imports, rice prices, Rosendo So, Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura, Sinag
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