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Household cuts rice consumption

15 April 2024

ALBERTO Alcontin, a 52-year-old resident of Barangay Guadalupe in Carcar City, had to adjust his household’s rice consumption in response to soaring rice prices.

Alcontin shared with SunStar Cebu on April 8, 2024, the challenges his family of three faces due to the escalating prices of this staple food item.

Formerly accustomed to purchasing 10 kilograms of rice per week to sustain his family, he said he is now forced to reduce that amount by half.

Alcontin added that they have chosen to skip rice and substitute bread for breakfast to stretch the five kilograms over six days, saving it for lunch and dinner.

“Sauna, sa usa ka semana, imbes 10 kilos amoang i-konsumo, five kilos na lang. Kay inig buntag, dili na lang mi mokaon og kan-on, inig paniudto na lang og panihapon,” he said.

(In one week, instead of consuming 10 kilos, we now only consume five kilos. Because in the morning, we no longer eat rice, only during lunch and dinner.)

He said the store where they buy rice sells each kilo for over P60, a significant increase from the previous price of at least P40 per kilo of rice in recent months.

He usually buys Excellent or Ivory premium rice.

Last week, SunStar Cebu reported that the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) central office projected rice prices to potentially continue rising until July 2024.

During a press conference on Friday, April 5, PSA director Dennis Mapa highlighted a record-breaking increase in rice inflation. In March 2024, rice inflation reached 24.4 percent, surpassing February 2024’s rate of 23.7 percent.

Inflation means one has to pay more for the same goods and services.

March 2024 marked the highest rice inflation rate in the past 15 years, surpassing the 24.6 percent recorded in February 2009.

“Our expectation is it will increase strongly until July because of the low base effect... unless there is an intervention that will happen in the market that will bring down prices,” he said, adding that prices of rice may gradually slow down by August 2024.

The low base effect in inflation happens when the inflation rate in the previous year was unusually low, as inflation is measured as a percentage change compared to the previous baseline.

SunStar Cebu tried to reach the Department of Agriculture Central Visayas (DA 7) to inquire about the factors influencing rice inflation and the measures being taken to address it but had yet to receive a response as of press time.

Mapa noted significant year-on-year price adjustments for regular, well-milled, and special rice varieties.

In March 2023, regular milled rice was priced at P39.90 per kilogram, but it has now increased to P51.11 per kilogram. Similarly, the price of well-milled rice has increased to P56.44 per kilogram from P44.23 per kilogram in the same month last year.

The agency said that prices of special rice have increased by approximately P10 per kilogram over the past year. The country’s headline inflation rate slightly accelerated in March 2024 at 3.7 percent.

Rice resellers

Helen de la Peña, a store owner in Barangay Tejero, Cebu City, said she helps her customers afford rice by offering it in smaller quantities.

For instance, a kilo of Ivory premium rice, priced at P64 per kilo, can be bought in half-kilogram for P32, and in quarter-kilogram portions for P16.

De la Peña said her supplier has maintained stable yet still high prices for rice. She purchased a 50-kilo sack for P2,830, a slight relief from the price of P2,850 per sack last week.

Merlin Tancawan, a vendor in a store located inside T. Padilla Market, echoed the same sentiments, saying that prices dropped a little, but she considered them still high.

She said she sells a 50-kilo sack of Ganador rice to their customers for P2,930, down from P3,000 per sack in previous months, while a sack of Doña Conchita is still sold at P3,030.


A national media outfit reported last Saturday, April 6 that the DA is considering mechanization to decrease rice prices in the country, aiming to boost production levels and lower production costs.

Agriculture Assistant Secretary Arnel de Mesa said that crushed grains during the drying and milling process cause 15 to 20 percent of post-harvest losses, resulting in wastage.

“The percentage is about 15 to 20 percent depending on the area and the level. The majority is in the drying and milling process. For example, in milling, 65 percent is already a big figure in milling recovery, but many of our mills still have 50 to 55 percent milling recovery,” he said.

Source : sunstar