Agriculture department sets suggested prices for rice, other goods

MANILA, Philippines – To avoid further abnormal movement of prices in local markets, the Department of Agriculture (DA) set a suggested retail price (SRP) scheme for 8 agricultural products on Monday, June 25.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said the department order covers only Metro Manila markets. The SRP scheme will be rolled out to other regions in the coming days.

Piñol also clarified that the order does not cover supermarkets and malls.

Under the order, the SRP of regular milled rice was pegged at P39/kilo. Prices of regular milled rice had soared due to depleted National Food Authority (NFA) rice stocks. (READ: Rice prices soar as Duterte marks 2nd year in office)

Meanwhile, popular fish like milkfish (P150/kilo), tilapia (P100/kilo), and galunggong (P140/kilo) were also covered in the DA order.

Red onions and white onions have SRPs of P95/kilo and P75/kilo, respectively.

Imported garlic (P70/kilo) and local garlic (120/kilo) were also covered in the order.

"The prices of commodities with SRP should not go beyond 10%. Violators will be fined from P1,000 to P1 million or imprisoned for a maximum of 6 years," Piñol said.

The agriculture chief said they have joined forces with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to monitor the prices in markets weekly.

The DA has yet to determine SRPs for poultry and livestock products, as officials have yet to meet with industry stakeholders.

A spike in the prices of basic commodities had been observed after the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law in January this year. (READ: Philippine inflation spikes at 4.6% in May 2018)

Economic managers, however, attributed the increases to profiteering by some traders. – Rappler.com

Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.

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