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Rice prices seen to hike by P5 a kilo —DA

Retail prices of rice are expected to rise in the next few weeks due to high palay farmgate prices amid the dry season, higher cost of inputs, and low buffer stock, an official of the Department of Agriculture (DA) said.

“Our projection is an increase of P5 [per kilo]… that’s the maximum,” DA Assistant Secretary and deputy spokesperson Rex Estoperez told reporters in a recent interview.

The DA official cited the high procurement price of rice between P22 and P23 per kilo.

“During the Summer harvest season, prices are normally high because the palay is already dry… Plus, the cost of inputs are also increasing,” Estoperez said.

“This is a normal occurrence during Summer… Price levels are abnormal and have already reached P23,” he added.

Another factor in the expected increase in the prices of the staple is the lower inventory which is only good for 51 days, a far cry from the comfortable level of 90 days.

Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that as of January, the rice inventory nationwide fell to 1.77 million metric tons (MT) or by 30.3% from 253 million MT. Year-on-year, rice inventory shrank by 5.1% from 1.86 million MT.

Estoperez said the country’s rice stockpile should be 37,000 MT a day, good for 90 days or 3.33 million MT.

Data from the DA’s price monitoring as of April 4 showed that the price per kilo of local well-milled rice range from P39 to P46, while the regular-milled variety costs P34 to P40 per kilo. —KBK, GMA Integrated News