Notes price per kilo down nearly half from P43, value chain needs fixing
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Thursday said he is still hopeful that his dream of P20 per kilo of rice for Filipinos will come true.
“You can see that the price of rice, my dream of lowering its price to P20, we are not yet there… but we are already at P25. We are close to further reducing its price,” the President said in a speech at the launch of the Kadiwa Ng Pangulo in Pili, Camarines Sur.
The Kadiwa market aims to provide farmers and fishers as well as micro, small, and medium enterprises a direct market for their products.
In 500 Kadiwa stores across the country, rice sells for P25 a kilo.
As of March 15, the price of well-milled rice in the markets in Metro Manila ranges from P40 to P46 per kilo, according to government data.
It was President Marcos’ campaign promise to bring down the price of rice in the Philippines to as low as P20 per kilo.
He said the aspiration hinges on fixing the value chain, or the series of stages involved in producing a product or service that is sold to consumers, with each state adding to the value of the product or service.
Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda previously said that while this is not impossible, lowering rice prices to P20 would be at the expense of other sectors in the country.
According to the National Food Authority, the average retail price of well-milled rice in 2022 was P43.77 per kilogram, up by P1.33/kg from the previous year. Regular milled rice, on the other hand, averaged P39.43/kg last year, up by P1.83/kg.
The average ex-farm price of palay or unhusked rice in 2022 was P17.43/kg, up 4.06 percent from the previous year’s P16.76/kg.
Twenty exhibitors or Kadiwa partners are expected to sell their products during the two-day trade fair at Barangay Palestina in Pili town.
Aside from three farmers’ cooperatives, four MSMEs, and three individual young farmers who will sell their food and non-food products, the National Food Authority will also sell rice at a lower price while the Bureau of Fish and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) will also offer seafood products.
The BFAR on Thursday assured the public of adequate fish supply despite demand peaking as the Holy Week approaches.
BFAR spokesperson Nazario Briguera said the bureau is confident of sufficient production since fishing grounds in the country have reopened after their periodic closure.
“Since we are in the peak season of fishing activity, we expect to meet the high demand for fish during the Holy Week,” he said.
Briguera noted some factors that may affect local fish production, including the unprecedented oil spill in Mindoro that could possibly lower fish output in Oriental Mindoro and nearby provinces.
He also pointed out that expensive fuel costs and post-harvest losses continue to be among challenges in strengthening the fishing industry.
The fishery sector is looking forward to the construction of 11 more cold storage facilities on top of ongoing construction in various ports in General Santos and Cagayan de Oro, that should be operational by the end of 2023.
BFAR said fish spoilage is between 25 percent to 40 percent because ofthe shortage in post-harvest equipment like blast freezers, ice making machines, cold storage warehouses, and fish landing sites.
The Philippine Statistics Authority reported that the country hadproduced about 4.34 million metric tons (MT) of fish in 2022, 2.16 percent higher than the 2021 output and 0.16 percent higher than the DA’s target of 4.33 million MT.