The Department of Trade and Industry is considering a suggested retail price on imported rice, with officials believing retail prices should have gone down with the Rice Tariffication Law in place which allowed the runaway importation of the commodity.
READ: KMP’s Ramos calls for repeal of rice tariff act
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, in an interview on Dobol B sa News TV aired on GMA News TV on Saturday and heard nationwide, said in Filipino they would study implementing SRP if the volume of imported rice had gone up.
During the Department of Agriculture’s price monitoring at the Commonwealth Market in Quezon City certain well-milled varieties were discovered being sold at up to P45 per kilo.
“We were expecting more vendors were hawking the commodity at P34-P37 per kilo,” Lopez said.
The Cabinet official said retail prices of rice had not plunged as expected because several importers were not yet releasing their stocks in the market.
“This must be the reason the prices have remained in that level,” Lopez added.
The DA said Friday it was looking at a list of traders suspected of “manipulating” the release of imported rice in the market.
The farmgate price of palay has plunged to as low as P7 per kilo after rice tariffication was implemented earlier this year, prompting farmers to ask for government intervention.
After the Rice Tariffication Law was passed in February, up to 2.4 million metric tons of imported rice entered the country, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said.
But not all of the imported volume was released into the market.
The Rice Tariffication Law removed the quantitative restrictions on rice and imposed a 35 percent tariff on imports from Southeast Asian neighbors.
READ: Duterte bans importation of rice during harvest time