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Mataas pa rin! Rice to stay above P40 in November – Piñol

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By Xave Gregorio

The price of rice will hover above P40 per kilogram by November even as its price is seen to stabilize that month, Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol said.

“Rice prices will stabilize by November this year. Pero hindi na po bababa ng P40,” Piñol told senators Monday (September 10) at the hearing of the Department of Agriculture’s proposed 2019 budget.

Piñol said this is because the buying price of fresh palay from farmers is at around P22 to P29 per kilogram, while dried palay is priced even higher.

“If it’s any comfort to us the farmers are saying that for the very first time, they’re enjoying the very good price of their produce,” he said.

The higher price of palay is seen to lead to increased production which could result in rice prices tapering off.

Rice prices shot as high as P80 per kilogram in Zamboanga City and nearby areas.

Piñol rehashed his explanation for the increase of rice prices in Zamboanga City, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, saying this is due to government crackdown on smuggling.

He also reiterated that he was not pushing to legalize rice smuggling, as he was quoted in news reports, but was pushing for private traders in the area to be allowed to import rice.