By Madelaine B. Miraflor
With additional imported rice coming in and more locally produced palay being harvested, rice prices continue to go down since the start of this month.
Based on the latest data provided by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), farmgate price of palay continues to move downward during the first week of October.
To be specific, the average farmgate price of palay declined by 2.24 percent week-on-week to P21.86 per kilogram (/kg). Compared to previous year’s price level of P18.91/kg, it still rose by 15.60 percent.
Well milled and regular milled rice are also now being sold at lower cost both at wholesale and retail trades.
For instance, the average wholesale price of well milled rice at P45.45/kg posted a decrease of 1.24 percent from the level a week ago of P46.02/kg. But it also happens that compared to last year, it is still higher by 15.83 percent from the price of P39.24/kg.
At the retail trade, the average price of well milled rice dropped by 0.73 percent to P49.00/kg from the previous week’s level. However, it rose 16.09 percent relative to the the price level it was in during the same period last year.
The average price of regular milled rice at wholesale also exhibited a price cut of 1.20 percent week-on-week to P42.64/kg. But it accelerated by 19.84 percent from previous year’s level of P35.58/kg.
During the same week, the average retail price of regular milled rice at P45.87/kg was lower than its previous week’s level by 0.50 percent. Compared to last year, the price jumped by 20.67 percent.
Moving forward, prices are expected to drop further as the government will soon enforce Suggested Retail Prices (SRP) for both imported and locally produced rice.
The Department of Agriculture (DA), in consultation with rice industry stakeholders, had particularly set the SRP of P37/kg or lower for imported regular milled rice; P40/kg or lower for imported premium rice; P39/kg or lower for locally produced regular milled rice; and P44/kg or lower for well milled rice that was produced here.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said the SRPs will initially apply to Metro Manila and suburbs, including the nearby provinces of Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog.
The SRPs for Northern Luzon, Southern Luzon, Bicol, Visayas and Mindanao will be set by the NFA Council on Tuesday.
On Thursday, the NFA has failed to secure suppliers for most of the first 250,000 metric tons (MT) of rice it has been authorized to import for the remainder of the year.
To recall, the state-run grains agency is still hoping to import as much as 750,000 MT of rice for this year. This will be done in three bidding processes supposedly in two weeks interval.
On Thursday, the NFA conducted the bidding for the purchase and supply of the first 250,000 MT of imported rice, which will be done through an open tender scheme.
However, off the 20 companies that joined the bidding, only three companies could possibly secure import contracts from the NFA as they were the only ones who met NFA’s buying price of US$428.18 per ton.
“We have to report to the NFA council to address this. We need rice and we need to act immediately,” NFA Deputy Administrator Judy Dansal said in an interview with reporters.
“We will have to rebid for the remaining volume. It is not a failed bidding. It’s just that not all the volume were taken,” she added.
The NFA is set to publish a new Terms of Reference (TOR) for the said re-bidding.