P20 per kilo price of rice ‘not yet possible’: Philippines agri chief

Department of Agriculture Secretary Dar said that this is despite the rice production cost soaring to P14.80 per kilo due to rising fertilizer and fuel costs in light of the Russian conflict.

Neil Arwin Mercado

Neil Arwin Mercado

Philippine Daily Inquirer


Agriculture Secretary William Dar. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / NINO JESUS ORBETA

June 9, 2022

MANILA, Philippines — Based on current data, lowering the price of rice to P20 a kilo is “not yet possible” as of the moment, Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary William Dar said Wednesday.

Dar said that prior to the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, production cost of palay was at P11.50 per kilo. However, with rising fertilizer and fuel cost, palay production cost has soared to P14.80 per kilo.

“Now, ang farmgate price natin naman, ‘yung bibilhin mo ng palay, at 14 percent moisture content, ay P19 ang present na farmgate price,” Dar said in an interview with Teleradyo.

(Currently, the farmgate price—or when you buy the palay at 14 percent moisture content—is at P19 per kilo.)

“So titingnan natin yun kung kaya ba ng P20 ang kilo ng bigas. With this data, it’s not yet possible,” he added.

(So if we’re going to look at whether or not P20 pesos per kilo of rice is possible, with this data, it’s not yet possible.)

To achieve this, Dar said that production cost has to be lowered. He pointed out that in Thailand, the cost of production of palay is current at P8 per kilo.

The cost is even lower in Vietnam at P6 per kilo, he added.

“Gusto kong idagdag na yung aspiration ng ating president-elect [Bongbong Marcos] ay magandang pangitain yan na lahat ng magawa natin, i-planong maigi how we can achieve that level of price for rice na P20,” Dar said.

(I want to add that the aspiration of our president-elect Bongbong Marcos is a good sign. All of our endeavors should be planned so we can achieve that level of price for rice at P20.)

“So one way to really reduce the price of rice is to reduce your cost of production,” he added.

During his campaign, president-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said he will work to bring down the price of rice to as low as P20 per kilo. Following his win, Marcos Jr. said bringing down the price of rice to around P20 is the “aspiration.”

Earlier this week, Department of Agrarian Reform Secretary Bernie Cruz said they have crafted a strategy to achieve Marcos Jr.’s goal as early as 2023.

Cruz said that the aspiration is possible through the agency’s mega farm project.

Dar, however, said the only way this is possible is if the government will buy the rice from the farmers and sell it at P20 per kilo. This will cost the government around P123 billion, he said.

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