PRODUCTION of palay, or unmilled rice, for the second quarter has been initially estimated at 3.86 million metric tons (MMT), down 5.6%, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said.

In its Palay and Corn estimates report for the quarter, PSA said domestic palay production from a year earlier was 4.09 MMT.

Its estimate for corn production in the second quarter was 1.15 MMT, down 10.2% from the year-earlier production of 1.28 MMT.

The price of palay, the form in which most domestic farmers sell their crop, has been on a downtrend due to the threat of competition from cheap foreign grain. The Rice Tariffication Law, which freed up rice imports by private traders who must pay a 35% tariff on most of their shipments, particularly on rice from Southeast Asia, is pressuring farmers to sell their harvest for less while also depressing future planting intentions.

Early July, the Bureau of Customs reported that it collected a total of P5.9 billion in tariffs from P1.43 MMT of rice imported by private traders flowing the implementation of the Rice Tariffication Law.

The average farmgate price of palay, or unmilled rice, fell 0.3% week-on-week during the fourth week of June to P17.85 per kilogram (kg), the PSA said.

The PSA said the average wholesale price of well-milled rice fell 0.1% week on week to P39.30. At retail, it fell 0.2% to P42.92 per kg.

The wholesale price of regular-milled rice fell 0.2% week on week to P35.39 during the period. At retail, the price decreased 0.3% to P38.56.

The farmgate price of yellow corn grain during the period declined 0.1% week-on-week to P13.98 per kg. The average wholesale price fell 1.2% to P18.30 and the retail price decreased 1.2% to P23.68.

The average farmgate price of white corn grain was stable week on week at P16.25. The average wholesale price fell 2.1% to P22.40, and the average retail price declined 1.4%% to P28.82. — Vincent Mariel P. Galang