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P40/kilo rice not achievable – FFF

06 May 2024

MANILA, Philippines — The retail price of rice will not return to its previous level of P40 per kilo as the prevailing cost in the market remains high, farmers’ group Federation of Free Farmers (FFF) national manager Raul Montemayor said yesterday.

The landed cost of imported rice averaged between P45 and P50 per kilo, Montemayor said in a radio interview.

“The retail price of rice will not decrease that much, it will depend on the trading in the international market,” he noted.

Imported rice in the international market went down to $570 per metric ton from the previous $630 per MT, he added.

“We will depend on the rice importation but based on our computation with tax paid, it’s between P45 and P50 per kilo. It will depend on how much it will be sold by the traders,” he said.

“The government should determine who takes advantage most as the increase in the retail price of rice is caused by the middlemen and based on what we received retailers have the biggest profit, they are earning too much,” he added.

Local harvest will be delayed amid El Niño’s impact, he said.

“There is no rain, that’s why farmers cannot plant. The nearest harvest will be late September up to October. We will depend mostly on imported rice,” he explained.

The annual shortfall in rice supply is only pegged at two million MT but the country’s rice importation reaches as high as four million MT, Montemayor noted.

“Because of the flooding of imported rice, the farmgate price of palay drops. It discourages farmers from planting. We will be too dependent on importation if farmers will not plant,” he said.

In 2023, the country’s rice imports totaled 3.6 million MT.

‘Retail prices stable’

The retail prices of well-milled rice remain stable between P50 and P52 per kilo and no movement in its cost was observed in past months, according to the Department of Agriculture (DA).

“We don’t see a spike (in the retail prices) as for the last how many months, the retail price of well-milled rice was between P50 and P52 and until now, it ranges from P50 to P52 (per kilo),” Agriculture Assistant Secretary and spokesman Arnel de Mesa told The STAR.

Based on DA’s monitoring of Metro Manila markets, the retail price of local regular milled rice was at P50 per kilo; local well-milled rice, between P48 and P55 per kilo; local premium rice, between P51 and P58 per kilo; and local special rice, between P56 and P65 per kilo.

Imported regular milled rice, between P48 and P51 per kilo; imported well-milled rice, between P51 and P54 per kilo; imported premium rice, between P52 and P60 per kilo; and imported special rice, between P57 and P65 per kilo.

At least 1.6 million MT of imported rice arrived in the first four months of the year, De Mesa noted.

“The importation last year was 3.6 million MT so only two million MT is needed to reach the same level. It is possible that we can surpass (the volume of rice imports in 2023),” he added.

De Mesa attributed the increase in rice importation to the drop in world prices.

“We expect that the lower imported rice can influence the retail price in the markets,” he added.

The retail price of rice started going up last year when the cost in the international market reached as high as $700 per MT from just $350 to $400 per MT.

“The good thing about imported rice is the election in India is about to end. We hope that it will remove the export ban as this will eliminate the stress on rice in the international market,” he said.

Damage to rice in terms of hectarage was only 58,226 hectares compared to the worst El Niño in 1997 when 377,000 hectares of palay plantations were affected, De Mesa noted.

“This represents 2.7 percent of the total area planted today,” he said.

The palay production target of 20.448 MT this year is still achievable despite the damage brought by El Niño, he added.

“Our production last year was 20.06 million MT. Our projection despite the El Niño is at 20,448 million MT. Assuming our losses to El Niño are 100,000 to 200,000 MT and your losses to La Niña are 300,000 MT, you are still within the target,” De Mesa said.

The damage caused by El Niño to the agriculture sector reached P5.9 billion, he noted.

Source : msn