THE average farmgate price of palay, or unmilled rice, declined further in the first week of October, falling 1.6% week-on-week to P15.56 per kilogram (kg), the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said.

The PSA said in its weekly price update that the average wholesale price of well-milled rice fell 0.3% week-on-week to P38.02 per kg. At retail, prices fell 0.2% to P41.94.

The average wholesale price of regular-milled rice fell 0.5% week-on-week to P33.86 per kg. The retail price declined 0.3% to P37.53.

The price of the staple grain has been on a downward trend since the implementation of the Rice Tariffication Law, which removed restrictions on rice imports. In exchange, imports of grain from Southeast Asia are charged a 35% tariff.

The influx of imports has softened the market for palay, the form in which domestic farmers sell their harvest to traders, triggering a government effort to prop up palay prices using public funds. Private traders in some provinces are reportedly offering farmers single-digit prices per kilo of palay, well below the National Food Authority’s support price of P19.

Week-on-week, the farmgate price of yellow corn grain declined 1.6% to P12.34 per kg. The average wholesale price fell 1.0% to P18.29, and the retail price fell 0.1% to P24.26.

The average farmgate price of white corn grain fell 1.7% to P13.51 per kg. The average wholesale price dropped 1.0% to P16.80. The average retail price fell 0.5% to P26.53. — Vincent Mariel P. Galang