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PIA Press Release

GRECON underscores cooperation to sustain price stability

By Rose B. Palacio

Davao City (15 July) -- The Confederation of Grains Retailers Association Inc., a privately-owned association of grains and staple food products in southern Philippines, underscored today the full cooperation of the private sector, the government, especially the rice traders to sustain the stability of the present prices of the staple food.

GRECON regional director Pablo Gonzales, Jr. said "we are glad to announce that prices of rice in major supermarkets here have gone down as much as P2.00 per kilo." He said their confederation lauded the move of the government in institutionalizing the "Bigasan ni Gloria sa Palengke" were more rice outlets were put up and additional volume sacks of rice were injected in these accredited outlets. This move has ultimately addressed the long line-up of people in various rice outlets in the City, he further said..

When asked by some mediamen, Director Gonzales said the high prices of commercial rice soared up during the months of February and March when there were less (or none at all) incoming delivery of rice products in the market.

"We thanked Press Secretary Jesus Dureza and Agriculture Sec. Arthur Yap when they called up for an immediate meeting with rice retailers, millers and rice traders to discuss the rice situation here and look into the real problem of the high prices of commercial rice." Gonzales said.

That forum started the commitment of rice traders to help each other, be able to find immediate solution, and "galvanize" the situation to lower prices of commercial rice (at that time, prices of commercial rice soared up to P50.00/kilo).

It was in this dialogue that government and private sectors involved in rice trading sit down together and gave their fullest attention on the rice situation as Secretary Dureza sounded the alarm over the "skyrocketing" of food prices in Mindanao.

The first step that Secretary Dureza and Secretary Yap did was to address the "immediate need to lower prices of commercial rice," and meet immediate humanitarian needs of the people especially the poor.

But to do so, it requires additional supply of good quality rice to stabilize the high prices of commercial rice in the market.

At that time, rice sets new records almost everyday, but with government's intervention, high prices of rice in Mindanao was properly handled and up to the present, these prices has been stabilized, Gonzales said.

Grain markets should remain functioning normally, so the public will not go on panic-buying, he said, adding that the people must remain calm as we have enough supply of rice in the market. Bumili lang tayo ng sapat para sa ating pamilya at huag mangamba, huag magpanic buying, because the NFA has assured us of buffer stocks of rice even in the next year.

The NFA said it will pump some 350,000 metric tons or seven million bags every month as a way to stabilize the supply and bring down prices during the lean months and the rest of the year.

The NFA has increased stocks of rice into the market at P18.25 a kilo and commercial varieties of the grain for P25 and P35 a kilo since June. (PIA) [top]

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