Legarda urges DA, NFA to act on high rice prices

September 26, 2013

Sen. Loren Legarda urged the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the National Food Authority (NFA) on Thursday to address the problem of continued high rice prices in the country despite the onset of harvest season which should cause prices to go down.

Legarda, who had filed Senate Resolution 233 for a Senate inquiry on the rice supply situation in the country, said she could not understand why rice prices have remained high despite the pronouncement of DA and NFA officials that the country has more than enough inventory of the national staple.

“If there are adequate supplies of rice, our markets should feel it, rice prices should go down. The best proof of supplies of rice is its price. Until these remain at its present levels, we must continue to ask the DA and NFA to act, and act now,” she said.

Legarda said last year, retail prices of regular-milled and well-milled rice slightly peaked during the lean season then normalized when that period ended, but this year, “not only have the price hikes during the lean season been significantly higher, they have also failed to normalize at the expected time.”

She cited figures from the Bureau of Agriculture Statistics (BAS) that retail prices of regular-milled rice ranged from P32.20 per kilo at the start of the lean season in June, to a high of P32.50 in August, while well-milled rice ranged from P35.30 to P35.70 per kilo during the same period.

“The rice prices this year are a cause for concern. This year the prices really shot up; between June and September, we experienced an almost four-peso jump in the retail prices of regular and well-milled rice,” Legarda said.

She said NFA Administrator Orlan Calayag had assured the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food at its hearing on the rice supply situation in the country that the NFA’s inventory is bigger this year compared to 2012.

“I have yet to see the positive impact of this on rice prices,” she said.


Source: Business Mirror