NFA: Rice price remains stable in Eastern Visayas

TACLOBAN CITY — The National Food Authority (NFA) reported that price of rice remained stable this week, but staple food traders said there had been a slight increase of cost in the past two weeks.

Citing weekly monitoring reports, Mary Agnes Militante, NFA regional information officer, said there has been no price movement for regular milled and well-milled rice at PHP33.62 and PHP37.30 per kilogram, respectively in the past two weeks.

“We don’t expect adjustments at least until June because of high buffer stocks by commercial traders and households after the summer harvest,” Militante said on Wednesday.

But for Danilo Saylo, 59, rice retailer at city’s public market there has been an increase in price of local rice after the central government stopped the rice importation.

“I was forced to increase my price due to the price mark up of rice per sack given by big rice dealers. There is an increase of PHP50.00 per sack since last week,” said Saylo, who sells staple food at PHP35 to PHP45 per kilogram.

Despite the projected price spike in Metro Manila and more urbanized regions, the situation in Eastern Visayas is different considering that the region is a rice producer and not just a consumer, Militante said.

“The distribution now is low because it is harvest season. Usually, it increases during lean months which start from July to September,” she said.

The official said the grains agency is ready to flood the market with government rice. Currently, NFA warehouses have stocks of 520,875 bags of rice. Based on average daily sales 1,561 bags present stocks will last for 334 days.

“The role of NFA is to stabilize the price and supply of rice. If ever we feel there is a slight increase, we flood the market with supply to bring down the trading cost,” Militante said. Sarwell Meniano & Eunice Asuncion-OJT/PNA