Palay prices still falling

Published November 26, 2020, 2:55 PM

by Madelaine B. Miraflor

The harvest season for rice is over, but palay prices are still falling, a data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed. 

During the fourth week of October, the average farmgate price of palay fell by 0.4 percent to P15.36 per kilogram (/kg), compared to its level of P15.42/kg in the previous week.

Similarly, it dropped at an annual rate of -1.4 percent from its average price of P15.58/kg in the same week of the previous year.

During the period, palay went down to as low as P11/kg to P13/kg in some areas, namely Isabela, Bulacan, Pampanga, Quezon, Cavite, Palawan, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Agusan del Sur, South Cotabato, among others.

In some areas, however, prices went up to as high as P19/kg to P21/kg, including Nueva Ecija, Romblon, Palawan, Southern Leyte, Zamboanga Sibugay, and Surigao del Sur.

In most areas, the last harvest season ended in November, while the next planting season will start in January next year.

Just this week, economists at Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) said farmers should sell good quality dry palay for more income amidst the lower farmgate price of palay.

Alice Briones-Mataia, an economist at PhilRice Socioeconomics Division, said farmers will earn an average of P1.50 /kg depending on quality when they sell dry palay.

Right now, palay prices are largely dictated by factors, such as quality (level of moisture content and variety), seasonality, supply disturbances, and import volumes.

“If fresh (25 percent moisture content), the produce for a 5t/ha [5 tons per hectares] would be bought at P59,250.00, while for dry (14 percent moisture content), it may be up to P66,722.40,” Mataia said.

However, to achieve such moisture content level, farmers must have access to solar or mechanical dryer.

Mataia then admitted that there’s a limited number of drying facilities in most parts of the country.