Pricey rice: Lean season affects rice prices

By Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 12 2013 04:16 PM | Updated as of Jul 13 2013 12:16 AM

MANILA - Malacañang said the increase in the price of rice will range from P1-2 and not P2-3, pointing out that this is due to the lean season. 

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte reiterated that the price increase will only be temporary because of the nature of the season. She added that the National Food Authority is prepared with its buffer stock in case intervention is needed.  

“Ayon din po sa computation ng DA (Department of Agriculture) at ng NFA, wala po sa range ng 2 to 3 [pesos]. Ang pino-project po nila ay 1-peso to 2-peso increase depending on the area. Kaya kung napapansin din n’yo po, sa ganitong panahon ay nag-aayos po ng buffer stock ang NFA para po kung kakailangan ng intervention, ay handa po ang pamahalaan. Pero natural po ito dahil nga po lean season. This is nothing new. Taon-taon po, nagkakaroon po talaga tayo ng ganito,” Valte said. 

The National Food Authority earlier said there is no shortage in the supply of rice, despite rising prices.

The price of well milled rice went up from P30 to P32 per kilo. Rice retailers attributed the price increase to higher farm gate prices and a perceived tightness in supply.

Retailers in Kamuning said a sack of well milled rice is now at P1,700, which is P50-P100 higher than a week ago. They also claimed that suppliers are not able to satisfy their requirement.

But the NFA said the situation remains normal, noting that July is a lean month and rice prices are expected to move up a little.

The NFA will monitor though if prices will continue to rise within the month. If mid-priced rice (P30-32/K) will run out, the NFA may intervene by releasing buffer stocks.

The NFA assured they have 616,000 MT of buffer stocks which is good for 21 days. It is also offering to buy smuggled rice confiscated by the Bureau of Customs in Cebu and in Legaspi.

The NFA noted that the P27-P28 per kilo iron fortified NFA rice is still available and may serve as an alternative for consumers. With a report from Zen Hernandez, ABS-CBN News