Department of Agriculture announces that reduced tariff rates will lead to lower rice prices

The Department of Agriculture (DA) is hopeful that the reduction of rice tariffs will result in a substantial decrease in retail prices, as stated by Agriculture chief Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr.

Laurel mentioned that the agency is actively working towards lowering the price of rice, with the goal of reducing it by P6 to P7 per kilo, based on estimates from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

“We will do everything within our power, especially those granted to the Department of Agriculture under the Price Act, to ensure that the significant cut in rice tariffs will lead to a notable drop in the retail price of rice,” he emphasized.

As of the latest update, the DA reported the following price averages per kilo: P48 to P55 for local well-milled rice, P45 to P52 for regular milled rice, P57 to P65 for special rice, and P51 to P58 for domestic premium rice.

To address the potential shortage of funds for the Rice Competitive Enhancement Fund (RCEF), valued at around P10 billion, the DA plans to allocate resources from its budget.

The RCEF aims to improve farm mechanization, technological advancements, inputs, farmer training, and other forms of financial aid, with an end date set for 2025. Laurel expressed confidence that the Rice Fund will be extended until 2030 to benefit impoverished rice farmers.

The agriculture sector intends to seek additional support from Congress to increase funding for inputs such as fertilizer and sustain the increased palay buying price of the National Food Authority (NFA).

Since raising its purchasing price in April, the NFA has procured 2.93 million bags of palay, with plans to provide 500,000 bags to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

In addition to the NFA’s efforts, the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) will proceed with its contract growing projects to provide a secure market for rice farmers.

NIA recently announced that they will sell rice at P29 per kilo in Kadiwa stores starting in August through a 40,000-hectare contract farming agreement.

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