According to figures gathered by the DA-10’s Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division (AMAD), the average price of regular milled rice rose 20.5 percent for the first six months of 2014 to PhP 37.81 per kilo compared to only PhP 31.38 for the same period last year. The average price for premium rice increased 19.83% over the same period from PhP 40.03/kg. to P47.97/kg. Well-milled rice also rose 17.47% from PhP 36.64/kg. to P43.04/kg. over the same period. However, for January to June 2014, the increase recorded was only 2.17% from P37.19 (January) to P38 (June) per kg. for regular milled rice."
“We do monitoring of rice prices twice a week throughout the region,” Ms. Hojas said. “So we don’t really have a big increase in prices for 2014 because we have enough supply. If indeed there is increase in price even with enough supply, somehow, somewhere, some people may be manipulating.”
Speaking in the same forum, Information Officer Celeste Gaabucayan of the National Food Authority Region X said the rise in prices could also be attributed to the milling and other costs traders incurred and inputted into their retail prices.
“When they buy palay at P22 per kilo, traders incur expenses such as milling and labor to convert it into edible rice,” she explained. “In order to break even, they have to price their milled rice at PhP 44/kg. and add two pesos profit margin and that’s how you have PhP 46/kg. retail price for premium rice.”
“Similarly, when NFA buys palay at P17/kg. it has to price at P34/kg. to break even. So when NFA sells it at P32/kg. it is subsidized,” she added. “However, since June 30 NFA outlets were directed to start retailing regular milled rice to marginalized poor at P27/kg. which is also available to better off buyers who want to buy it.”
Gaabucayan said NFA-10 has increased the allocation for NFA outlets in the city up to 100 bags a day to address the situation. The agency has two outlets each in Agora and Puerto, and one each in Cogon and Carmen markets. In addition, it has rolling stores roving the barangays selling NFA rice at PhP 27/kg. for targeted beneficiaries in partnership with DSWD.
The rise in retail prices followed the rise in the average farm gate price of palay which rose to P18.27/kg. for the first quarter of 2014, up from PhP 15.06 over the same period last year.
Figures from the PSA-BAS X presented by NEDA during the forum show palay production for the first quarter increasing 22.79% from 143,179 metric tons (M.T.) to 175,809MT.
As a result, net rice production available for consumption against the clean rice requirement also increased the region’s rice sufficiency level for the 1st quarter to 76.89% compared to only 64.93% over the same period last year, using the same per capita consumption figure of 115.7 kgs. versus the region’s 2014 estimated population of 4,508,166.
The region’s total rice stocks of 2,256,383 bags as of 01 March 2014 as monitored by NFA-X was 91.3 percent higher than the total monitored over the same period last year, and was estimated to last 84 days based on the region’s daily rice consumption of around 26,820 bags.
Prices were apparently also stabilized by the increase in the inflow of rice from outside the region compared to outflows for the 1st quarter of the year.
Rice inflows/outflows monitored by the AMAD showed rice inflows increasing to 5,107.5MT compared to only 3,487.95MT over the same period last year, for a 1,619.55MT increase or 46.4%. Some 96% of rice imports to the region came from Manila and Cebu in 2013, while 92.3% were accounted for by Iloilo in 2014.
On the other hand, rice outflows dropped from 4,326.40MT in 2013 to only 1,279.MT in 2014, a steep 70.4% decrease. Some 2,800MT of the rice outflows (64.7%) in 2013 were shipped to Tacloban for victims of Typhoon Yolanda, while the bulk (94.75%) in the first quarter of 2014 was shipped to Cebu.