The government will conduct strict monitoring of rice prices to prevent traders from unreasonably jacking up the price of the major staple. It said however that the increase in rice prices would be temporary.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a press briefing in Malacañang yesterday that concerned government agencies will do the monitoring, adding that the price increase is seasonal and will go back to original prices once the harvest season starts.
The increase is part of a natural cycle of rice supply, Valte noted.
Rice farmers have just started to plant palay and the National Food Authority has been assessing its buffer stock in preparation for the lean season, she added.
This week, the Department of Trade and Industry asked the Department of Agriculture to investigate the reported P1 to P2 hike in rice prices in Metro Manila and the possible triggers of the increase.
Based on the report of the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics, the price of regular milled rice ranged from P32 to P34 a kilo as of July 9, up from the P30-per-kilo price recorded since 2012.
There were also reports of price adjustments of other products such as mango (P80 per kilo as of July 9, from P70 a week ago); pechay (P50 from P40); and eggplant (P50 from P40).
The DTI reported that prices of other basic commodities either remained stable or slightly went down. The price of refined sugar remained stable while the prices of powder-filled milk went down, the report noted.*PNA