By Reicelene Joy N. Ignacio
GOVERNMENT agencies will implement a suggested retail price (SRP) for all varieties of rice starting the last week of October, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said on Monday.
“By the last week of October, the DA (Department of Agriculture), DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) and the NFA (National Food Authority) will implement an SRP program for rice. The price range will be determined in a meeting to be held on Oct. 18 with stakeholders, millers and farmers,” Mr. Piñol told reporters after his meeting with the NFA Council.
The agreed SRPs are: P39 per kilogram for regular-milled rice, P42 for well-milled rice, and P44 for long-grain rice. The SRP is subject to seasonal adjustment.
Mr. Piñol also said all retailers of rice are required to sell four varieties, which must be clearly labeled.
“Last week of October, all rice sold in retail outlets will be properly identified as local rice or imported rice. There will only be four classifications: regular well-milled, well-milled, whole grain head rice, and special rice. Under these classifications, the retailer would classify the rice variety, but we will not anymore do branding of rice, like Sinandomeng, like Dinorado. We believe this will put everything in order in the rice supply chain,” Mr. Piñol said.
“There is no such thing as Sinandomeng. On the Dinorado, that will have to be classified as special rice. The imported rice will be classified as imported rice and should not be priced higher than the local rice,” he added.
Mr. Piñol said that the NFA will not regulate the price of special rice which includes brown rice and organic rice, as this would be determined by the sellers.
The Philippine Rice Research Institute also developed RC160, which Mr. Piñol said he hopes to be classified under special rice, and can be sold at P25 per kilo.
Mr. Piñol also said that these rice varieties should be sold in sealed packets and not in open boxes by the middle of 2019, with each pack having a label which indicates the classification, date of harvest, date of milling, the producer, and the miller.
The label should also bear the logos of DA, NFA and DTI, and indicate that the rice conforms to the quality standards set by the three agencies.
“This is for food safety and traceability,” Mr. Piñol said.