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Rice price cap can be lifted in next few weeks: SINAG

The Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG) on Saturday said the government could lift the mandated price ceiling for regular and well-milled rice in the next few weeks.

According to a "24 Oras Weekend" report by Bernadette Reyes, SINAG said that the rice harvest season was starting, so prices were expected to decrease gradually.

"Pag-harvest natin towards December, 'yung presyo babalik sa normal nasa P43, P44. 'Pag harvest natin, babalik yung presyo without importing, without lowering of tariff," said SINAG Chairman Rosendo So.

(When we harvest towards December, the price will return to normal at P43, P44. When we harvest, the price will return without importing, without lowering of tariff.)

"End of the month is okay na, and makikita natin ang harvest ng September, in which mga 2.7 million metric tons ang naiiwan na harvest ng palay," he added.

(End of the month is okay, and we will see the harvest in September, in which about 2.7 million metric tons of rice left to be harvested.)

Several rice retailers from Commonwealth Market said that the price of rice from suppliers was gradually decreasing.

However, rice watch group Bantay Bigas said despite lowering rice prices, some consumers may not still be able to afford it.

"At least P34-36 sana ang panawagan, at magagawa 'yan kung talagang gobyerno na mismo mag-subsidize sa presyo ng bigas," said Bantay Bigas Chairperson Cathy Estavillo.

(We're calling for a P34-P36 rice price at least, and this would be possible if the government itself subsidizes the price of rice.)

Meanwhile, the expected increase in supply brought about by the harvest season is one of the factors being considered, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said.

"The fact that some retailers are now selling rice below [the price cap of] P41 and below P45 is indeed a good indicator," it added.

Along with other government agencies, the DA would closely monitor the indicators to provide President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. with "an informed recommendation on the timeline of lifting the price ceiling on rice." — Sherylin Untalan/DVM, GMA Integrated News