By Madelaine B. Miraflor
SL Agritech Corporation (SLAC), the biggest hybrid rice producer in the Philippines, may be forced to bring down the premium price of its products once more imported supply starts flooding the local market as a result of rice tariffication.
SLAC’s premium rice Doña Maria is not covered by the Suggested Retail Price (SRP) that the government currently imposes on the Filipinos’ main staple food. Doña Maria’s Jasponica White Rice is currently available in almost all the country’s local supermarkets and is being sold for more than P100 per kilo.
Still, SLAC Chief Executive Officer Henry Lim Bon Liong did not discount the possibility of having to reduce the price for his products once more cheaper imported rice starts coming into the country.
But once the Rice Tariffication Bill, which would formally lift the quantitative restrictions (QR) on rice imports, is passed, the price of rice in the country could go down to as low as P20 per kilo.
Lim said his company will probably make downward adjustment on the price of its products once the price of rice in the local market start going down not only because of competition but also because the value of palay, which SLAC normally buys for as high as P29 to P30 per kilo, could also go down.
To come up with its premium rice, SLAC buys palay from local farmers, mostly from Nueva Ecija, who use the firm’s hybrid rice seeds in their production.
“If palay goes down to P20 per kilo, we can reduce our retail price for our special rice. It depends on the supply and demand,” Lim said.
“[Tariffication] will affect us by a little bit but we have to work harder and promote our rice. We are very resilient. We eat competition for breakfast,” he added.