No reason for rice price increase- Sinag

March 3, 2014 at 9:01 am Leave a comment

With the farm gate price of palay (unmilled rice) remaining at P23 per kilo for the past three months, there was no reason for any significant increase on the prices of rice, the agriculture alliance Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura said.
Instead, the blame should be put on rice smugglers and unscrupulous retailers for the price increases, the group said, reacting to a television news report on Tuesday.
In a press statement, the Sinag said the smugglers still have big volume of rice in their possession and are now dumping these on the local market at a time when local rice farmers are still to harvest in two weeks’ time.
“We are squarely blaming the rice smugglers in cahoots with a few unscrupulous rice wholesalers who are consciously diverting our attention away from rice smuggling by enraging the rice consuming public on this new rice price spikes,” said Rosendo So, Sinag chair.
“For the past weeks, they have been feeding misinformation and have used former government officials and pro-liberalization academics to mouth the shameful rhetoric that it is better for us to simply import cheaper rice from Vietnam and Thailand than to support our local rice industry,” added So.
SINAG asserted that while rice farmers are now more efficient and competitive, without government support on farm inputs, credit and insurance, seed certification, irrigation and post-harvest (dryers, warehouses) facilities; it was impossible to compete with the heavily subsidized rice industry of our neighboring countries.
The group adds that by pushing for more imports, “we are only further supporting the rice industry of the other countries, instead of promoting local rice production.”
“In fact, rice prices should be going down at this time since farmers will start harvesting their crops by the 1st week of March. The warehouses of rice millers or in the bodegas of rice traders are now practically empty since we have released our stocks long ago and we are now preparing for the coming harvest season,” revealed Herculano “Jojie” Co, one of the leaders of SINAG.

“Wala na sa kamay ng mga millers at sa mga traders ang mga bigas, wala na ring palay na gigilingin at iilan na lang ang nagbebenta ng palay; ang mga bigas ay matagal nang nasa kamay ng mga wholesalers at retailers ,” added Co, a third generation rice miller and trader.

In an info-graphic illustration, SINAG said that the rice industry passes through different channels from the production of palay until reaching the plates of the rice consuming public.

SINAG added that rice farmers are having a good price for their produce since smuggling of rice where reduced starting 3rd quarter of last year as, as compared to previous years.

“Nung kasagsagan ng pagbaha ng imported rice noong 2011 at 2012, maraming magsasaka ang di na nagtanim ng palay dahil alam nila na wala nang bibili ng mga aanihin nila at punong puno na ang mga warehouse ng imported rice,” continued So.

SINAG viewed smuggling more than just lost revenues; “it is the reprehensible loss of millions of livelihoods in the agriculture sector, total destruction of local industries and the risk to public health security since smuggled commodities bypass quarantine and food safety inspection” the group reiterated.

Entry filed under: News.

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