By Madelaine B. Miraflor
Prices of the country’s main staple have been on an uptrend for 37 straight weeks despite efforts of the government to speed up the distribution of imported rice in local markets.
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said Wednesday that prices of well milled and regular rice sold in local markets both went up during the second week of this month.
As this developed, Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez signed a memorandum of agreement with the National Food Authority to allow groceries and supermarkets to sell NFA rice in an effort to flood the market with more affordable rice.
Meantime, the National Movement for Food Sovereignty (NMFS) called upon government to decisively put a cap to soaring rice prices that have pushed more economically vulnerable groups, including food producers, “into hunger and destitution”. Relative to previous week’s level of P45.51 per kilogram (/kg), the average wholesale price of well milled rice at P45.92/kg picked up by 0.90 percent during the week. On an annual basis, it rose by 16.93 percent.
Similarly, this week’s average retail price of well-milled rice went up by 1.10 percent from P48.40/kg in the previous week to P48.93/kg. Compared with the previous year’s level of P42.28/kg, it rose by 15.73 percent.
For regular milled rice, the price increased by 1.27 percent to P43.13/kg, which was also higher by 21.15 percent from last year’s level.
The average retail price of regular milled rice then went up by 0.97 percent from P45.27/kg last week to P45.71/kg. On an annual basis, it increased by 20.26 percent.
Farmgate price of palay, on the other hand, moved upward but at a slower pace. In particular, the average farmgate price of palay at P23.04/kg gained by 0.26 percent compared to a week ago level of P22.98/kg.
Relative to the previous year’s price level of P19.62/kg, it was likewise higher by 17.43 percent.