CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- The Department of Agriculture (DA) advised consumers Saturday to report merchants who will raise prices of agricultural products during the El Niño phenomenon.

DA Regional Director Redentor Gatus said that except for sugar, the price of rice, agricultural products and other basic commodities remain stable or unchanged.

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He said no price increases yet were also seen on bread, cooking oil, flour, including construction materials like cement, which are directly dependent on some agricultural products during pre-production.

Gatus said there is a sufficient supply of government rice in the province through the various Tindahan Natin and Bigasan ng Bayan outlets despite the millions of possible damage that could be inflicted by the dry spell.

He also said the DA is expecting the arrival of 45,000 cavans of imported rice to augment the rice buffer stock of the province.

Pampanga farmers are still not adversely affected by the dry spell, he said, adding that many farmers in Pampanga are still harvesting their palay while others have also started planting for the third cropping.

Other palay plantations are also on the vegetative and harvest stages, Gatus added.

"There is no destruction yet on palay plantations in Pampanga," the agriculture official said, citing there is no abnormal price situation but the change in prices is due to the seasonability of the harvest.

Gatus said consumers may report to the Department of Trade and Industry or to the DA any merchant that may raise prices of agricultural products even though there is enough supply.

The DA, he said, is working with the DTI to monitor agri-prices in the market.