Senator sees stable rice prices, supply this month

BACOLOD City – Prices and supply of domestic rice will stabilize within September 2018, Senator Cynthia Villar said on Friday.

Speaking before participants of the 27th Visayas Area Business Conference and Expo at the L’Fisher Hotel, Bacolod City, Villar said September is harvest time of local rice for the first cropping which “will stabilize the prices and supply.”

The senator, who chairs the Senate Committee on Agriculture, also said that the National Food Authority (NFA) “is mandated to buy rice from farmers at P17 and sell to consumers at P27 to P32 so that traders will not have complete control of the rice trading.”

“We have a problem with the NFA that is why we have this situation,” she said, adding that she hopes the NFA officials “will see the problem and solve it.”

Villar also said that agriculture officials “should do their best to solve the current problem of high prices and low supply” of the country’s prime staple.

But she said that it is “not our call for them to resign.”

“They serve at the pleasure of the president. Even if we want to but if he will not fire them, they will remain in their places. It is not really our option. It is the option of the president,” she pointed out.

Villar also said that there is importation of rice because “rice is cheap abroad and if it is the government who will buy, it will have no tariffs.”

“I have a proposal to peg a ceiling in the price of rice at P40. That would make them happy because the cost of producing rice is about P27 to P30 per kilo. It would make earn them enough. I am enjoining the Departments of Agriculture and the Trade and Industry to put a ceiling and it will bring down the prices,” she added.

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