KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/08 September) — Prices of rice in various public markets in South Cotabato are three pesos higher than the suggested retail price, alarming consumers and alarmed local officials here.
Agriculture officials here warned rice wholesalers and retailers to cut their prices since they are getting palay at much lower prices, a situation that the former said is unjust to farmers and consumers.
Reynaldo Legaste, Provincial Agriculture Officer, recommended the reactivation of the Local Price Monitoring Council after knowing the discrepancy based on the selling point price of palay from traders.
According to the general formula presented, Legaste said the suggested retail price of rice is determined by multiplying by two the buying price of palay.
But the initial market monitoring conducted by the team from the agriculture office said the prices of rice for the past three weeks ranged from P33-P34, or two pesos higher than the suggested retail price.
As of today, the buying price of palay is P15.50, which means the retail price should have been P31.00.
“This situation is unfair for our farmers whose products are bought at much cheaper price but are sold at a higher price,” Legaste said, adding consumers also suffer.
South Cotabato is having a bumper harvest for palay this year.
Legaste said that in most markets in Davao, where traders bought rice from South Cotabato, rice price ranged from P31 to P32 but in South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat, another rice producer, it is P34.
A rice retailer from Koronadal City who refused to be named said their prices entirely depend on how much they pay the wholesalers.
“If they want to suppress this, they should start from the wholesalers,” he pointed out.
A miller from Upper Valley Area said the high price of rice in the past two weeks was on their old stocks that were bought from farmers at P17.50 per kilo.
But Legaste did not believe this argument. He said, “Traders know the trend. Their stocks only last for few weeks because of the demand from other provinces.”
He said they will call a meeting as soon as possible to settle the issue. (MindaNews)