By Madelaine B. Miraflor
As the country moves closer to the liberalization of rice importation, the price of locally produced rice both at farm-gate and retail level continue to fall at the latter part of March.
A data from Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed that during the third week of March, farmgate prices of palay as well as the average and wholesale prices for well milled and regular milled rice have all went down.
In particular, the average farmgate price of palay has been on a downtrend for four consecutive weeks now, falling by 0.26 percent to P18.98 per kilogram (/kg) two weeks ago from the price of P19.03/kg in the previous week.
Similarly, it dropped further by 6.96 percent from the price level of P20.40/kg recorded in the same period last year.
Farmgate price refers to the price received by farmers for their produce at the location of farm. Thus, marketing costs such as transport and other marketing cost incurred in selling the produce are not included in the farmgate prices.
Federation of Free Farmers (FFF) and Federation of Free Farmers Cooperatives (FFFC) both blamed the decline in palay prices to the passage of the Rice Tariffication Law.
“Even before the Law could take effect, palay prices have already gone down to as low as P14 per kilo, or P6 per kilo lower than their levels last year. If this trend continues, farmers will end up losing P75 billion in 2019 alone for the palay they sell to the local market,” the groups said in a joint statement.
“Once the tariffication law takes effect, more imports are expected to come in and further depress prices, resulting in even more losses to farmers who are already reeling from the effects of the El Niño drought,” the statement added.
The Rice Tariffication Law, which will replace the volume restriction on rice imports with tariff, was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in February and will become effective as soon as an Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) is issued.
Meanwhile, PSA also recorded lower wholesale and retail prices for well milled rice during the third week of March.
The average wholesale price of well milled rice particularly went down to P40.66/kg, which is 0.37 percent lower than the P40.81/kg recorded in the previous week. This was also lower by 0.12 percent compared with last year’s price level of P40.71/kg.
The average retail price of well milled rice, on the other hand, fell by 0.20 percent to P44.33/kg from P44.42/kg week on week. It, however, went up by 2.10 percent from the same week of previous year’s level of 43.42/kg.
At the wholesale trade, the average price of regular milled rice retreated by 0.35 percent to P37.18/kg from P37.31/kg week on week. But it slightly went up from last year’s price level of P37.12/kg.