Rice prices in Davao del Sur rise due to El Niɦo
BANSALAN, Davao del Sur – Prices of milled rice are on the uptrend in the province as the El Niño continues to ravage farms.
Prices of milled rice have also increased in this town, which produces about 13 percent of the total provincial average rice output of 127,000 metric tons per cropping season (figure still include that of the newly created province of Davao Occidental).
Rice dealer Modesta Porquiado said it has become difficult for rice millers to find palay these days because of the dry spell. This has led to the rising prices of rice, she said.
A monitoring by the Philippine Daily Inquirer at the public market here showed that milled rice prices have increased by an average of P2 per kilogram. For example, the so-called 7-tonner variety now sells between P40 and P46 per kilogram, depending on the grade, from the previous price of P38-44 per kilogram.
Ordinary rice now sells at P35 per kilogram from just P30 a few weeks back.
But according to the National Food Authority (NFA), even with the shortage of palay, the province has sufficient rice stocks that can help residents overcome the effects of the El Niño phenomenon.
Virgilio Alerta, NFA Davao provincial manager, said more than 195,000 bags of imported rice have been in stock at the at the NFA warehouse in Digos City alone. More rice will be made available to the markets in the coming days because of the upcoming procurement of 300,000 bags for Southern Mindanao, he said.
Alerta said the NFA outlets were also told to start selling more NFA rice to help consumers amid rising rice prices.
At just P25-P27 per kilogram, the quality of NFA rice is at least equal to that commercial rice varieties being sold in the markets, according to Alerta.
Davao del Sur Gov. Claude Bautista said the provincial government has already started providing assistance to farmers in the province so that rice production could start amid the drought.
According to Bautista, the P16-million emergency fund drawn from the calamity fund is being spent on water pumps, drought-resistant varieties and other forms of assistance. SFM
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