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Marcos warns hoarders anew as rice hits P56 per kilogram

17 August 2023


As rice prices surged to about P56 a kilo, President Marcos vowed on Wednesday to go after hoarders and price manipulators taking advantage of the lean months before harvest season.

He also ordered the department which he heads, the Department of Agriculture (DA), as well as the Department of Trade and Industry to closely monitor rice prices in different markets, Presidential Communications Secretary Cheloy Velicaria Garafil said in a statement.

“Rice supply is sufficient. Prices are, however, very variable. The government is working with the private sector to rationalize the prices and make available affordable rice in the market and in Kadiwa [stores],” Garafil quoted the President as saying.

Citing data from the DA, Garafil said that retailers were selling rice at different prices, with the cheapest ranging from between P38 and P50 per kilo.


Last week, Mr. Marcos assured Filipinos that the country’s rice situation was “manageable and stable” to cushion the effects of the El Niño phenomenon.

“There is enough rice for the Philippines up to and after El Niño next year,” he said.

Upon the instructions of the President, the DA had started talks with Vietnam and India on the steady importation of rice to ensure that the country maintains a sufficient supply.

In a previous interview, Agriculture Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban said that rice prices in local markets may soon decline after the government secured lower prices from Vietnamese exporters— around $30 to $40 per ton less than what was quoted in their recent meeting at Malacañang.

“This will hopefully pave the way for the country to get better terms for the additional 300,000 to 500,000 metric tons rice importation for this year,” he added. “This will help lower the prices of rice as it will further beef up our national inventory which, even without importation, is expected to last for 52 to 57 days by the end of 2023.”

Humanitarian grounds

India announced last month a temporary ban on rice exports to allow it to manage its problems with price inflation.

But Panganiban was hopeful that it would allow rice sales to the Philippines on humanitarian grounds.

Data from the Food and Agriculture Organization for July showed a 2.8 percent surge in rice prices, the highest in almost 12 years, following India’s rice export ban and adverse weather conditions that were affecting production.

Source: Inquirer