The government will enforce starting Oct. 23 the suggested retail prices (SRP) for both imported and locally grown rice at P37 to P47 per kilo in a bid to arrest profiteering by some traders.
Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said that in consultation with rice industry stakeholders, the following SRP were set: imported rice regular milled — P37 per kilo or lower; imported rice premium —P40/kilo; local rice regular milled — P39/kilo; and local rice well-milled — P44/kilo.
Piñol said special rice, which includes Cordillera heirloom rice, dinorado, malido, hinumay, milagrosa, organic brown, red and black rice, and malagkit, will be exempted from the SRP.
“The SRPs set yesterday will initially apply to Metro Manila and suburbs, including the nearby provinces of Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog,” he announced in his Facebook page on Thursday.
Piñol said it was agreed that the SRPs could change depending on world market prices for imported rice and other factors affecting the Philippine rice market.
The agriculture chief said the NFA will also require rice retailers to properly identify the rice sold whether it was sourced from countries like Vietnam, Thailand or Pakistan, or produced in the Philippines.
Piñol said the use of fancy names like ‘Senandomeng’, ‘Super Angelica’, ‘Yummy Rice’, and others will no longer be allowed.
Rice sold will only be classified as regular milled, well-milled, premium and special rice, he added.
“On Oct. 23, officials and personnel of the DA, DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) and NFA (National Food Authority), backed by law enforcement groups will tour the public markets to ensure the implementation of the SRP and the labelling,” he said.
Piñol also warned that rice traders found violating the guidelines on SRP and labelling will face sanctions, including cancellation of their NFA license to engage in rice trading.
Piñol said SRPs for Northern Luzon, Southern Luzon, Bicol, Visayas, and Mindanao will be set by the NFA Council on Tuesday.
Also expected to be decided next week will be the SRPs for supermarkets and Philippine rice premium, he added. (PNA)