Manila, Philippines – Marking the International Rural Women’s day, the rice watch group Bantay Bigas and Amihan National Federation of Peasant women demanded for a price control of retail prices of commercial rice from P28 to P32 per kilo as the prevailing prices was unaffordable to the poor consumers.
“If palay prices are around that range, then retail prices of rice should never exceed P32 per kilo. But we are seeing rice being sold at around P38 to 44 per kilo. Meaning there is already profiteering, amid declining purchasing power of poor consumers. Thus, our urgent call to impose a price control on commercial rice,” Cathy Estavillo Bantay Bigas spokesperson and Secretary-General of Amihan said in a press statement.
Likewise, the groups demand to raise the farm gate prices of palay for at least P20 per kilo as the recorded prevailing prices started at P9 in Iloilo, P10 in Nueva Ecija and Occidental Mindoro; and up to P14/ kg in other provinces. They said that in the next tomorrow, they will hold protest, noise barrage, and human chain against price surges and importation at the Department of Agriculture and NEPA QMart Market in Quezon City. This was part of the marking of World Hunger day on October 16.
Yesterday, Amihan conducted an online consultation with mothers and peasant women from various provinces and decried on the high prices of rice. They said that NFA rice was unavailable on their provinces and forced to buy costly prices of rice. In Cagayan, Isabela, Albay, and Panay provinces the recorded retail prices of commercial rice were at P34 to P50 per kilo. “The country’s rice sector is further undermined by the Rice Liberalization Law regime. The losers are both poor rice farmers and consumers, and the winners are monopoly traders and importers. Every Filipino should demand the repeal of this law and enact the Rice Industry Development Act (RIDA) in the name of attaining national food security based on self-sufficiency and self-reliance, for the benefit of future generations. We call on everyone to defend Philippine agriculture from further liberalization, and promote and protect local production,” shed ended. ###