rice supply in the Philippines

Rice sells as much as P70 per kilo in Cagayan de Oro’s hinterlands

Froilan Gallardo

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Rice sells as much as P70 per kilo in Cagayan de Oro’s hinterlands

RICE SITUATION. Larry Paraluman, chief of the DA X's Agribusiness and Marketing Division, presents the rice supply and demand situation in Cagayan de Oro and Northern Mindanao on Thursday, September 14.

Froilan Gallardo/Rappler

(1st UPDATE) A Department of Agriculture official in Region X says it now costs P300 to transport a 50-kilo sack of rice from Bukidnon province to Cagayan de Oro

CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – Prices of rice in the hinterland villages of Cagayan de Oro reach as high as P70 per kilogram, despite authorities’ efforts to reduce them by establishing outlets that sell the national staple at government-mandated prices.

Lawyer Jose Edgardo Uy, chair of Cagayan de Oro city government’s Regulatory and Compliance Board, said they have received reports that prices of the basic commodity have spiraled in Barangay Taglimao and other hinterland villages.

Councilor George Goking, chairman of the city council’s trade and commerce committee, told Rappler that rice traders were set to increase rice prices by as much as P25 per kilo but stopped when the city government implemented President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s Executive Order No. 39 this week.

“The traders had planned to implement two incremental price increases of P12.50 per kilo. This could have resulted in an economic disaster,” Goking said.

The city government and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) started selling affordable rice at P40 to P43 a kilo on Monday and allowed every buyer to buy 10 kilos.

Marcos Jr. signed EO 39 on August 31, setting price limits at P41 per kilo for regular milled rice and P45 per kilo for well-milled rice to stop the spiraling of its prices.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) in Region X said the prices of well-milled rice in Northern Mindanao went up to P65 a kilo before EO 39 was implemented.

Larry Paraluman, chief of the DA X Agribusiness and Marketing Division, said the high cost of petroleum products also affected the prices of rice in Cagayan de Oro.

Paraluman said it now costs P300 to transport a 50-kilo sack of rice from Bukidnon province to Cagayan de Oro.

DA-Northern Mindanao Director Carlota Madriaga said the situation was aggravated by the low supply of rice in the region because the month of August was a “lean month” in rice production and due to increasing fuel prices.

Madriaga said the region’s rice stocks dwindled to just 33 days in August because the farmers have yet to harvest. It went up to 88 days in September. (Editor’s note: The previous version of this story stated that the region’s rice stocks dwindled to just 13 days in August and 18 days in September. This has been corrected.)

“We had to feed more than five million people three times a day in Region X. Our stocks could barely meet the demand,” she said.

Madriaga said the situation would likely ease in October, November, and December when farmers in Northern Mindanao start their harvest season.

She said the low stocks were augmented by imported rice from Vietnam, which amounted to 279,000 metric tons that arrived in several shipments starting in January. – Rappler.com

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