Wholesale price of rice up by P1 per kilo
December 21, 2023 | 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines — The wholesale price of rice has gone up by P1 per kilo or P50 per 50-kilo sack amid the continued upward trend in the retail cost of the grains, Federation of Free Farmers (FFF) national chairman Raul Montemayor said yesterday.
“Based on the report I received, there was a P1 per kilo (increase) in the wholesale. It slightly decreased for a while and then it went up again,” Montemayor told The STAR.
As of yesterday, the retail price of local regular milled rice in Metro Manila markets was as high as P52 per kilo; local well-milled rice, P55 per kilo; local premium rice, P62 per kilo and local special rice, P68 per kilo.
Imported well-milled rice was sold at a high of P58 per kilo; imported premium rice, P60 per kilo and imported special rice, P66 per kilo.
Questioning the abrupt increase, Montemayor said there is no reason for traders to increase their price as they bought the palay in October and November 2023.
“There may be speculation in the market that there would be tightness in supply in the coming months because of high prices of imported rice,” the farmers’ group chair added.
He said there was a decline in volume of imported rice, and there is also apprehension on the possible impact of the El Niño phenomenon.
“Although the effect (of El Niño) will be in the second quarter of next year, traders limit the release of the supply as they are anticipating an increase (in the price of rice) in the next few months,” Montemayor said.
He said that while the National Food Authority (NFA) increased its buying price of palay to P23, traders offered higher prices of P25 per kilo or more.
“That’s the problem, the government lost its regulatory power because of the Rice Tariffication Law. The NFA failed to procure more,” he noted.
Montemayor maintained that there should be no movement in retail prices as the country has ample supply of rice.
“The peak harvest has just been completed,” he said.
At the same time, he said the 20 million metric tons of palay projection of the Department of Agriculture only represent an increase of one percent compared to the previous harvest in 2021.
“The increase is just minimal and even its 20 million metric tons…is still not enough to supply our total consumption. We still need to import at least three million metric tons of rice,” he said.
Montemayor said the public should conserve not only water but also rice amid the threat of the El Niño phenomenon.
“The average consumption of an individual is one-third kilo. It means that in three days, a person consumes one kilo but much rice is also wasted. Even if we don’t have a shortage, there must be a public campaign to conserve rice,” he added.
Montemayor said the preparation for El Niño may be too late, as it takes time to ensure readiness against drought.
“It’s too late. We need long preparation. If they only act now, it may be too late,” he said after President Marcos revived a government task force to lessen the impact of the drought.