CONSUMERS can soon buy much cheaper commercial rice varieties after rice industry stakeholders agreed to a Suggested Buying Price (SBP) for farmers’ produce and a Suggested Retail Price (SRP) for rice sold in the market.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said that the agreement was made during his meeting with the stakeholders last Wednesday during which the latter committed to address the “messy” rice supply and pricing situation in the country.
Piñol explained that the SBP means that traders will observe a base price and a ceiling price in buying farmers’ produce so that the farmers will be protected and that there would be no uncontrolled “pricing war” in palay procurement which could push prices of rice up.
The SRP, on the other hand, Piñol said, will ensure that the traders and retailers do not sell rice at prices which are unreasonable based on the buying price of paddy rice.
Piñol also disclosed that the rice importers agreed to bring down the retail price of imported rice in the market and ask their wholesale buyers to advise the retailers to sell it at prices lower than local commercial rice.
He, however, clarified that the implementation of SRP on rice will be by the last week of October since the stakeholders requested a two-week grace period so they could dispose of the stocks they bought at higher prices.
As initially agreed, Piñol added, the expected SRPs by the end of October are Regular Milled Rice at P39 per kilo; Well-Milled Rice at P42 per kilo; Long Grains Head Rice at P44 per kilo; while SRPs for Heirloom and Organic Rice have yet to be agreed upon.
“It was also agreed that an SRP on imported rice will also be set at levels lower than the prices of local commercial rice. The National Food Authority (NFA) will sell government subsidized rice at P27 and P32 per kilo for low income families,” Piñol said.
In the same meeting, Piñol ordered the NFA to ensure that all stalls selling rice must properly identify the rice being sold either as “Local” rice or “Imported” rice.
On the SBP for farmers’ produce, it was agreed that a base price must be set for farm fresh paddy rice and for clean and dry palay.
Piñol said that the initial proposal was for a base price of P18 per kilo for farm fresh palay and P21 per kilo for clean and dry paddy rice.
He added that the stakeholders agreed to meet again on October 18 to finalize the SRP and the SBP.