Rice prices continued to drop due to intervention by the National Food Authority (NFA), while adequate supply has dashed speculative palay buying and pricing, the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics said on Monday.
BSA, in its weekly report ending last March 17, said prices of well-milled rice in the wholesale market averaged P38.49 per kilo, or 0.25 percent lower than the previous week, but it was up 0.21 percent from last year’s level for the same period.
Retail rice decreased 0.06 percent with an average posted price of P41.73 per kilo and compared with last year’s, the average price was still higher by 1.23 percent.
For regular milled rice, wholesale and retail prices dropped with an average wholesale price of P35.22 per kilo, which was cheaper by 0.02 percent from last week’s level but more expensive by 1.56 percent from a year ago.
Retail prices of P38.09 per kilo was down by 0.20 percent from last week but was 0.41 percent higher than last year’s P35.80 per kilo.
NFA Administrator Renan Dalisay the market had a total of P2-markdown in prices over the last two quarters as a result of the agency’s efficient marketing.
He said the agency, which distributes rice through accredited retailers, has also tapped church parishes and local government units as distribution conduits, especially during calamities.
“Another reason for the decline in retail prices is the settling down of farm prices. We noted speculative palay buying by private traders last year, which drove farm prices up and naturally impacted on retail prices,” Dalisay said in a statement.
But prices might increase because of extended lean months brought about by the El Nino phenomenon and farmers in rainfed areas were reported to have delayed planting for fear of the prolonged dry spell.
As of March 17, farm gate prices increased by 0.33 percent to P17.94 per kilo—the fourth straight week of upward movement amid the dry season harvest.
Traditionally, lean season in the Philippines starts in July and ends in September. It is also the time when the government, through the National Food Authority, imports rice to help stabilize prices in retail markets.
For this lean season, the NFA has procured 500,000 MT of rice from Vietnam and Thailand.