Palay farmgate prices rise in mid-Feb.

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THE average farmgate price of palay, or unmilled rice, rose 0.2% week-on-week to P16.00 per kilogram in the second week of February, bringing the grain to a 18.5% price decline year-on-year, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said.

In its weekly update on palay, rice, and corn prices, the PSA said however that the average wholesale price and retail price of well-milled rice (WMR) fell 0.2% week-on-week to P37.06 and P41.22 respectively.

The average wholesale price of regular-milled rice rose 0.2% week-on-week to P33.02 per kg, while the average retail price was flat at P36.33 per kg.

Average farmgate prices reflect the prices paid by all traders to farmers for their harvest, which typically comes in unmilled form. At P16, the indicator remains well below the P19 support price offered by the National Food Authority (NFA), the government’s grains procurement agency.

The Rice Tariffication Law, which passed in the wake of the 2018 inflation crisis caused in part by limited supplies of subsidized rice for the poor, removed restrictions on rice imports, which were charged tariffs of 35% if from Southeast Asia. The law also stripped the NFA of its importing function, while giving it marching orders to focus on procurement from domestic farmers.

The NFA has limited funds or warehouse space to buy or store the entire domestic harvest, leaving farmers to sell much of the crop to private traders, whose bargaining power over the farmers has grown due to the availability of imported inventory. In some provinces, private traders have been reportedly making offers to buy palay for less than P10, severely depressing farmer incomes.

The average farmgate price of yellow corn grain fell 1% week-on-week in the second week of February to P12.44 per kg. It was down 9.7% year-on-year.

The wholesale and retail price of yellow corn grain fell week-on-week by 2.4% to P21.54 per kg and 1.6% to P24.87 per kg respectively.

The average farmgate price of white corn grain fell 0.9% week-on-week to P13.36 per kg, and was down 6.7% year-on-year.

The average wholesale price of white corn grain fell 6.8% week-on-week to P15.48 per kg while the retail price fell 0.9% to P26.72. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave