• The procurement price of rice is already "very high," as per a DA official
  • "If the procurement price continues to rise, the market price will also rise," the official added
  • Rice inventory nationwide in January was reportedly at 1.77 million metric tons

Retail prices of rice are expected to increase in the next few weeks because of high farmgate prices of unhusked rice, the rising cost of imported rice and low buffer stock, the Department of Agriculture (DA) has said.

The price may increase by up to 5 pesos per kilo, DA Assistant Secretary and deputy spokesperson Rex Estoperez said, as per the Philippine Star.

"During the dry harvest season, prices normally shoot up because the rice is already dry. Plus, the fact that our inputs are also increasing," Estoperez told the outlet.

The DA official said the procurement price is already "very high," according to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, which also noted that the retail price of rice in the market is at least double the farmgate price of rice.

"Even if this is a normal occurrence during the summer harvest, the price of play (paddy rice) is too steep. Price levels are abnormal [and have] already reached P23," Estoperez explained, according to the outlet.

"If the procurement price continues to rise, the market price will also rise. When we say that the farmgate price will increase, the market price will also increase," he said further, as reported by the Philippine Star.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) earlier reported that in January, rice inventory nationwide was at 1.77 million metric tons. It was 5.1% lower than the inventory from the same month last year, which was at 1.86 million metric tons.

The country's rice stockpile should reportedly be 37,000 metric tons per day or 3.33 million metric tons for three months.

Furthermore, PSA said rice stored in households, which makes up 60.4% of the total inventory, increased by 7.6% to 1.07 million metric tons. In contrast, rice in the National Food Authority (NFA) warehouses decreased by 44.8% to 114,910 metric tons.

The government resorts to rice importation to make up for the deficiency of supply. As of March, the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) reported that the country has already imported 663,806.364 metric tons of rice mainly from Vietnam.

Farmers drive a truck carrying rice bags in a field in Can Tho