Traders may be responsible of rice, spices hoarding

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Thursday, July 10, 2014


A GROUP of traders operating in Northern Mindanao may be responsible for the hoarding of rice and spices that created artificial shortage of basic goods in the market, the Department of Agriculture in Northern Mindanao (DA) said on Wednesday.

“Possibly, that the hoarding in Northern Mindanao is done by only one group. Although I don’t have the concrete data yet, pero may duda kami,” DA assistant regional director Roxane Hojas said.

For the past few months, prices have gone high for these two basic commodities.

During the DA press conference of corn and cassava on Wednesday, Hojas emphasized that prices are being manipulated by traders themselves.

“DA could not do anything about that as of now. But there is an investigation already on this by the central office. We are waiting for the results. If traders are caught manipulating the prices, there will be sanctions but not from our office instead from a board that will focus on this,” Hojas said.

She said that this might be organized by a big group of traders who has the power to increase the prices of commodities in the market.

However, a June 24, 2014 report published in this paper quoted a statement from the traders denying they are hoarding basic commodities.

LGU action

Hojas said the only solution to avoid hoarding is for the local government units (LGUs) to act upon it.

“It is in the LGU’s power to issue resolutions to have a price control in their local market. DA is only the implementer and partly the monitoring board so price control is not really our job,” she said.

Last July 6, 2014, the Malacañang has announced that hoarding exists in the country after three warehouses where sacks of rice from the National Food Authority (NFA) were found allegedly being repacked.

With this, the National Government accused traders for engaging in hoarding and manipulating prices.

Presidential Communications Operations (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma, as quoted by Sun.Star Manila, confirmed the widespread hoarding of basic goods.

“Based on investigation, the government has verified reports that there are hoarding and manipulation of prices,” Coloma said in Filipino.

Among the products that had been scarce in the past few weeks, the shortage of rice is no longer on the list, Hojas said.

“As far as I know and the last time I checked with NFA (National Food Authority), there is still enough rice for the consumers until December,” Hojas added.

City Price Coordinating Council chaired by lawyer Edgardo Uy, told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro by phone Wednesday evening that the council will conduct inspection to check if there is hoarding, price manipulation or cartel happening in the city in the wake of the price increases of rice and spices.

The council held its first meeting on Wednesday.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on July 10, 2014.

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