Gov't urged to set suggested retail price for rice


A consumer group on Wednesday proposed setting a suggested retail price for rice to help bring down prices as the National Food Authority grapples with a shortage in its buffer of the staple.

A SRP for regular milled and well milled rice will ensure that prices of the staple grain remain affordable in the same way such a requirement helped stabilize sugar prices a few years back, said Laban Konsyumer president Victor Dimagiba.

Within a week from the imposition of a P50 SRP for sugar under the Aquino administration, prices went down to P44 to P45 per kilo, said Dimagiba, a former trade undersecretary.

During a Senate hearing on Wednesday, Agrarian Reform Sec. Rafael Mariano asked the NFA to raise its buying price ceiling for rose to P18 per kilo from P17 so that it could purchase more from local farmers.

NFA spokesman Rex Estoperez said the ceiling could not be revised without approval from the NFA Council.

Consumer and farmer groups have been urging the government to address the supposed shortage in NFA buffer stocks, which are now just good for 1.7 days against the mandated 15 days and 30 days for the lean months of June to September.


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