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MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) and other agencies will set “moving” suggested retail prices (SRPs) for imported and local rice again in a bid to further lower the staple’s market price.
The DA will be signing a joint memorandum of agreement with the Department of Trade and Industry, the National Economic and Development Authority, and the Department of Finance by next week in order to implement the SRPs.
Changes in SRPs will take effect every two weeks, when the government will review landing prices for imported rice instead of basing it on the quality or the percentage of broken rice in the mix.
The SRP for local rice will be based on the average farmgate price of palay.
Outgoing Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said on Wednesday, July 17, that this is because they are suspecting that some rice traders are undervaluing the landed cost of the imported grain in order to maximize profits. (READ: Faster importation of rice seen under tariffication law)
“Instead of 5% broken [rice], they (rice importers) declare it as 25% broken so they can lower the tariff [they have to pay],” Piñol said.
In a recent meeting with rice industry stakeholders, the National Food Authority (NFA), and the Philippine Statistics Authority, it was mentioned that Thailand-sourced rice costs P23 per kilogram (kg), while rice imports from Vietnam and Myanmar cost P25 and P18 per kg, respectively.
Imported rice is usually sold for P38 per kg and above.
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, who Piñol said initiated the idea of reimposing SRPs, suggested a range of P35 to P38 for imported rice. For 5% broken rice, the price might be P38 per kg, while 25% broken rice would be P35 per kg.
However, price monitoring nationwide showed that there is a “loophole” in the rice tariffication law, as prices only dropped by P1 to P2 instead of the projected P7 decrease.
As of July 12, there are 480 registered importers and 1,702 sanitary and phytosanitary import clearances issued by the Bureau of Plant Industry. Out of 1.61 million metric tons (MT) of rice applied for importation, about 822,074 MT have already arrived. – Rappler.com