Starting Monday, the Department of Agriculture (DA) will deploy trucks loaded with bags of rice to be sold for P38 per kilo as it starts its “surgical rice selling operations” in Metro Manila.
The DA will target thickly populated districts of Metro Manila or the National Capital
Region starting with Tondo in Manila and Payatas in Quezon City.
According to Agriculture chief Emmanuel Piñol, a study conducted by the DA showed that rice should only be sold at a price double the buying price of paddy rice.
This means that if the farmers’ palay (unhusked rice) produce is brought at 20 per kilo, the selling price of rice should not be more than P40 per kilo.
“While freshly harvested commercial rice is being sold in the market for as high as P50 to P60, the Bigas ng Masa TienDA will maintain a selling price of P38 per kilo,” Piñol said.
At least 1,00 bags of rice in 5 and kilo packs will be sold in Metro Manila starting next week.
They include the supply from Star Capalay Association of Nueva Ecija, which committed to deliver 500 bags of 25 kilos every week.
On Wednesday, outstanding rice farmaer Danilo Bolos of Talavera town brought with him a truck loaded with 350 bags of 25 kilos, which he wants to sell in Metro Manila through the Bigas ng Masa TienDA.
Farmer groups from Cagayan Valley and the Ilocos Region, including Pangasinan, have also committed to sell their rice.
Other agricultural products such as upland and lowland vegetables, dried fish and salted eggs may also be sold along with rice.
Bigas ng Masa TienDA is a national program, which aims to directly link farmers to consumers and bring down the prices of basic food commodities like rice.
“The Bigas ng Masa TienDa is the first step in our efforts to directly link our farmers with consumers and end the age-old anomalous farm-to market supply chain, which is controlled by middlemen and traders,” Pinol said.
Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, DA Undersecretary for Agribusiness and Marketing, will oversee the expanded operations of the Bigas ng Masa TienDA.
The DA chief said Bigas ng Masa TienDA will soon be offered in regional offices.
Outlets will also be opened in different municipalities to provide the poor access to fairly priced farm products.