The Department of Agriculture has blamed the lean months from July to August for the increase in prices of rice at an average of P.50/kilo for well-milled rice and P.20/kilo for regular-milled rice.
Emily Bordado, chief of Agricultural Information Office in Bicol, said the spike in rice prices is caused by the depletion of rice stocks in the farmers’ households, while the rest of the rice stocks are controlled by the traders.
DA data shows that in June, the average prices of well-milled and regular rice in the region were P33.50 and P30.30, which increased in July to P34 a kilo and P30.50/kilo, respectively. The two Camarines provinces and Masbate, however, experienced a P1 increase per kilo in well-milled rice.
Bordado said most of the rice stocks now are in the hands of commercial traders, which give them certain control on prices of rice in the market. She assured that the big traders will be forced to sell their stocks because “they cannot store rice for as long as six months or more.”
She said that in a meeting with the National Food Authority and Bureau of Agricultural Statistics, it was reported that there are 848,562 bags of rice good for 22 days, as the regional daily consumption of rice runs at 39,037 bags. She said that by September, there will be at least 1.2 million bags of new rice stocks from the harvest in the month -- covering at least 26,000 hectares of rice farms all over the region.
At this period, the prices of rice are expected to go down. Bordado said Bicol is more than sufficient in rice at the end of 2012, with 12 percent more than the consumption as against the total harvest. She said the DA is steadfast in achieving rice sufficiency with no rice importation, declaring this year as “National Year of Rice.”
In Bicol, Bordado said, Camarines Sur is the number one rice producer among the six provinces, supplying 45 percent of the regional rice regional requirement.*PNA