NFA sustains 'rice flooding'
by Jemin B. Guillermo
Roxas City (9 July) -- The government is ready and able to continue flooding the market with state-subsidized rice in order to further pull down retail prices of commercial rice.
Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap said that the National Food Authority (NFA) will pump some 350,000 metric tons (MT) or seven (7) 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.
Yap disclosed that said food agency has increased its injection of government-subsidized rice into the market at P18.25 a kilo and commercial varieties of the grain for P25 and P35 a kilo since June.
He said that NFA Administrator Jessup Navarro stressed that while commercial prices have gone down to as low as P34 a kilo in certain parts, the NFA will further increase the injection of the government stocks being sold at P35 a kilo wherever needed in order to pull down prices in areas where the retail cost exceed P38 a kilo.
Commercial rice prices have already stabilized or even gone down by as much as P2 a kilo all over the country despite the start of the July-September lean months.
Yap explained that this is the result of the month-long "selective bombardment" of state-subsidized stocks in the market that was ordered by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as a government strategy to stabilize the cost of the staple in the face of the unprecedented global price shock.
Accordingly, while rice prices in Metro Manila have already stabilized, the cost of the grain in other regions have already dropped by as much as P2 per kilo as of last weekend, he said.
In Capiz, the sale of rice in the market has been under "price control," with a team led by Governor Victor Tanco as chairman of the Local Price Coordinating Council in Capiz.
The LPCC has made a ceiling price of regular milled rice at P35.00 per kilogram while the price of well-milled rice should not be more than P38.00 per kilogram.
Aside from rice, the prices of some basic and needs and commodities were also put "under control" by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) here, officer-in-charge Angelita Colmo of DTI Capiz disclosed.
Meanwhile, intensive daily monitoring of prices of rice and other basic commodities is being done in the province. (PIA) [top]