Increase in rice price seen to continue-A A +A
Monday, September 23, 2013
PALO, Leyte -- The National Food Authority (NFA) in Eastern Visayas said that sufficient supply of government rice is not enough to stabilize the price of staple food in the region, given their minimal share of the total regional reserve.
Based on their September 1 inventory report, of 1,646,112 bags of rice stored in the region, only 395,364 or 24 percent are government rice.
Household stocks account the biggest share with 978,540 bags or 59 percent of the total inventory.
Stocks of commercial rice dwindled to 272,208 bags (17 percent share) early this month as traders wait for new harvest that is expected to go full blast early October.
Of more than 1.64 million bags of stocks in three levels, 490,627 bags are in Leyte; 142,249 in Southern Leyte; 61,433 in Biliran; 95,843 in Samar; 430,018 in Northern Samar; and 452,942 in Eastern Samar.
As of this week, modal retail price of well-milled rice per kilogram (kg) is pegged at P42.33, regular milled rice at P39.43, and premium rice at P46.20. These prices are higher than the P39.42, P36.20, and P43.85 for well-milled, regular milled and premium, respectively.
NFA rice remains at P27 per kg. The food agency said they would ensure that no government rice would be overpriced or diverted and sold as commercial rice.
“The NFA was not able to influence rice prices because of so many rice stocks in the household. To be able to manipulate the price, we have to get the majority share of stocks,” said NFA regional information officer Mary Agnes Militante.
The NFA believe that high stocks in houses could be attributed to the “palangoy” system where farmers borrow money from lenders and pay an interest of one sack of palay for every P1,000 credit.
“These lenders have been keeping rice in their houses for their own consumption or sell the stocks to their friends,” she added.
High costs of farm inputs such as fertilizers and seeds, and poor credit support, small rice farmers opt to borrow money from individual lenders and loan sharks.
NFA records show that the region’s current stocks would last for 52 days at an average daily consumption of 31,596 bags for the region’s 4,532,935 population.
Each person in Eastern Visayas consumes 127.24 kgs. of rice every year.
Militante said she expects the price of commercial rice will start to go down next week as the country approaches harvest season. (Leyte Samar Daily Express)