SINAG: Aim to bring down rice to P20/kilo shouldn’t depress farmgate prices
Farmers group Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG) on Thursday said that bringing down the price of rice to the government's goal of P20 a kilo should not come at the cost of bringing down farmgate prices as well.
“We welcome that if magiging government policy ang pag subsidize ng retail prices ng bigas [if it becomes government policy to subsidize retail prices of rice]; but not at the expense of depressing farmgate prices,” SINAG executive director Jayson Cainglet said in a statement.
Earlier, President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. expressed the hope that his campaign promise of bringing down the retail price of rice to P20 per kilo will still be achieved.
Rice is currently available at government Kadiwa stalls at P25 per kilo. The SINAG official said this price is subsidized “because that is not the cost structure of rice currently.”
“Can the government actually sustain and increase the volume of rice at P25/kilo being sold at Kadiwa?” Cainglet asked.
Price monitoring data from the Department of Agriculture as of March 15 shows that the price of well-milled rice in Metro Manila markets ranges from P40 to P46 per kilo.
“As it is now, farmgate price is at P22/kilo; so retail prices of rice, without government intervention, will hover around P42 to 46/kilo,” Cainglet said.
He said the cost of producing rice has increased by P2 to P3 to about P16 to 17 per kilo due to rising fertilizers, fuels, and logistics costs.
“So we hope the economic managers would not succumb in advising the President to push for more rice imports in the guise of the P20 per kilo of rice; they should only give the right information to the President,” Cainglet said.
“We can only (ultimately) lower the retail cost of rice if we can introduce interventions that would lower the cost of producing palay, cut post-harvest losses and remove non-productive players in the whole supply chain of the rice industry,” he said.
In a separate interview with reporters, Marcos was asked about his timetable on the P20 rice per kilo. The President said he is not certain when this will happen.
"Yesterday if not sooner, lahat ng timetable ko yesterday if not sooner, lahat 'yan ASAP... I don't know, we'll see... mayroong... minamalas sa weather eh kaya di mo matiyak ano 'yung magiging production [we have bad luck with the weather, so we can't be certain on production]," Marcos said. — BM, GMA Integrated News