Commercial rice prices may go up this year – GreCon head

By Nestle L. Semilla |March 16,2018 - 11:34 PM

Prices of commercial rice may increase by the third quarter of the year especially since several consumers, who have patronized NFA rice, are turning to commercial rice because of the former’s low quality.

Erwin Gok-ong, president of the Grains Retailers Confederation of the Philippines (GreCon) Cebu City chapter, said that with more consumers shifting to commercial rice, its supply would be affected especially during the July to September months, which are considered lean months for local farmers.

Gok-ong said that with the increase in demand of the commercial rice because of the shift of NFA rice consumers to commercial rice might affect the commercial rice supply and would prompt rice retailers to import rice, causing the increase in prices.

He cited this possibility since the NFA had yet to hold a bidding for a fresh supply in June, which would likely be approved by August.

Gok-ong cited the possibility as he disagreed with NFA-7 Regional Director Procopio Trabajo II that only 10 million people will suffer because of the shortage of NFA rice.

He said that in the absence of competition in the market, in this case the NFA rice, the price of commercial rice would likely increase.

Gok-ong said that the trend of several people in the informal sector preferring to buy commercial rice over NFA rice had been noted in the past few days.

“We, the rice retailers here in Carbon, have observed that several consumers from barangays Pasil, Ermita, and Suba choose to buy Ganador instead of NFA rice, especially since the price of NFA rice had also increased,” said Gok-ong, who is also a rice retailer in Carbon Public Market, in Cebuano.
More consumers from the informal sector choose to buy commercial rice over NFA rice.

Gok-ong said that for informal settlers they felt that they could save more from buying commercial rice than the NFA rice.

Joan Booc, Barangay Ermita resident, agreed as she bought a half a kilo of Ganador rice instead of the NFA rice on Friday.

Booc said in Cebuano that she opted to buy the more expensive rice because she could save more especially with the poor quality of the NFA rice sold in the markets today.

She said that she and her family could eat the commercial rice even without having no viand to go with it rather than eat the poor quality NFA rice.
Gok-ong also cited the increase in prices of NFA rice as among the factors for the shift.

He said that the NFA rice could be bought for P27 a kilo before, but now this could be had for P32 a kilo.

“Because of its poor quality and the increase of its price from P27 per kilo to P32 per kilo, we have difficulty in selling it,” said Gok-ong in Cebuano.

He said when the NFA rice was still at P27 per kilo then, 100 bags could be disposed in four to five days.

Now, with the quality of the NFA rice and the increase in prices to P32 a kilo, as of March 16 only 50 bags of the the 100 bags he bought last March 5 were sold.

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