'NOT ₱20 PER KILO': ₱27.50 is lowest target of rice price for now — agri chief

By Daine Mariel Chua

PHOTO: OneNews.PH

Few weeks after a ‘not yet possible’ claim of ₱20 per kilo, Agriculture Secretary William Dar guaranteed that ₱27.50 per kilo is the lowest price of rice they can go for now, amid the campaign promise of President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. 

In a press conference on Tuesday, June 21, Dar said while he seeks to reinforce the president-elect's goal to reduce rice prices to ₱20 a kilo, the nearest they can go is still ₱7.50 higher than the target considering the country’s status quo.

“The nearest we can go by now is ₱27.50, to be more practical with the setting we have in the country by the end of 6 years,” Dar said.

The secretary first projected the lack of possibility of the price of rice to P20 a kilo on June 8 due to an increase in production costs brought by the Ukraine-Russia conflict.

The war caused the rise of fertilizer and fuel prices contributing to the production cost hike of palay from ₱11.50 to ₱14.80 per kilo, which made it harder to prevent reducing costs of rice in the country.

Given the not yet feasible agenda and the gap between the promised campaign rice price and the current possible cost, Dar said that the agency is already conceptualizing steps to further lower the price and reaching the ₱20 per kilo target.

The current national average of inbred and hybrid rice is less than 100 cavans of rice crop yields, equivalent to 4.5 metric tons per hectare.

Based on the current data, Dar primarily envisioned that the government can buy rice from the farmers, costing around ₱123 billion, in order to sell it at ₱20 per kilo which is considered as the "only way."

Furthermore, he brought up the possibility of adopting Masagana 99, a program by the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr., which will help price reduction by increasing rice crop yields to 99 cavans per hectare using technology.

“So that must be the aspiration there before. Now let's go beyond that aspiration. So for inbred rice, mayroon kaming konseptong Masagana 150,” Dar claimed. 

Nevertheless, despite ₱27.50 per kilo being the nearest possible price as of the moment, Marcos Jr.'s ₱20 per kilo promise for rice costs can be achieved as early as 2023.

“That will be a formidable legacy of the administration,” Dar concluded.


Edited by Nehmia Elyxa Relano
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