Rice prices to fall further on second year of tariffs: NEDA

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 04 2020 03:08 PM | Updated as of Mar 04 2020 03:54 PM

Farmers harvest and collect palay in Nueva Ecija, north of Manila. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA -- Rice prices are expected to drop further this year, the second year of a new tariff-based regime that seeks to lower the price of the staple grain.

The cost of rice could go down to P34 to P35 per kilo by the end of the 2020 from the current P36, National Economic and Development Authority Assistant Secretary Mercy Sombilla.

The current P36 per kilo price exceeded the government's target of P37 and is the lowest since 2014, Sombilla said. It is also 12.3 percent lower than P41.63 per kilo recorded in December last year, Sombilla said.

"It’s now even dropping at a lower price. It exceeded pa and we hope that it will still go a little bit lower para mas marami pang makinabang (so that more people will benefit from it)," she told reporters in Malacañang.

Sombilla said the government was counting on the P10-billion fund for farm implements to further boost production and lower prices.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar said the fund, which has been in full effect since October of last year, benefited 491,756 farmers.

"The whole objective of improving productivity, competitiveness and profitability will always be our guiding objectives in the implementation of the rice competitiveness enhancement fund," he said.

President Rodrigo Duterte in 2019 signed a law replacing import quotas on rice with tariffs to bring down the cost of the staple.