Prices of rice, garlic, sugar likely to remain high for some weeks

By , on June 18, 2014


MANILA, Philippines – Consumers are in for more bad news, as prices of rice, sugar, garlic and other commodities are likely to remain high, despite measures implemented by the government.

Despite the seeming continuous escalation in the cost of these goods, Malacañang assured the public that the supply of such in the market is stable. Further, it said that the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has been monitoring any unjustified price increases.

Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. of the Presidential Communications Operations Office said the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the National Food Authority (NFA) are monitoring the prices of rice, which have gone up by an average of P2 per kilo.

Garlic and ginger are likewise among other commodities whose prices are being monitored by the government, Coloma said.

He added that the government will always protect the welfare of consumers by ensuring that the supply is stable and responsive to the demand – pointing out that volatility is only brought about by market forces – and that prices remain within the range set by the Price Control Law.

The price of rice is expected to be more stable over the next two months, which marks the time of harvest season.

The price of sugar in Metro Manila, on the other hand, remains high due to strong demand for the product, and because sugar producers have only recently started selling sugar intended for the world market to local markets, the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) said yesterday.

The average retail price of refined sugar in Metro Manila as of June 6 was at P50.55; a jump from P49.50 per kilo in the end of May.

“Demand remains high and sugar producers have only begun converting sugar,” said SRA administrator Ma. Regina Martin. “Retail prices have risen slightly but this will be lowered soon because we have reallocated world market sugar to the domestic market.”

Meanwhile, the DA is eyeing the importation of around 46,000 metric tons of garlic this year to fill the supply gap and contain the increase in prices, an official said yesterday.

Last week’s surge in garlic prices in Metro Manila markets prompted the National Garlic Action Team (NGA) to meet to try and figure out the cause of the sharp price increase, as well as come up with solutions.

The average retail price of imported and local garlic in market places and selling areas in the metropolis has risen to P290 per kilogram and P200 per kilogram, respectively. The spike in the price of local garlic is double the average of the usual farm gate price of P100-P130 per kilogram.

NGAT members concluded that price surge is due to a supply gap and the possible hesitancy of traders to purchase from local producers.

The DA expects NGAT to come up with a resolution this week for the issuance of more than 900 import permits, each allowing the importation of 50 metric tons of garlic, Jennifer Remoquillo, director of the DA High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP) said.

This is expected to meet a little over 50 percent of the country’s domestic demand of 90,000 metric tons annually. Of this total demand, only an approximate amount of 11,000 metric tons is produced locally.