On Tuesday, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said that while he supports President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s goal of lowering rice prices to P20 per kilo, P27.5 per kilo is “the nearest we can do by now.”
“The nearest we can do by now — I can be given other figures if you have better way of doing it — P27.50 is the nearest,” Dar said during a press conference.
Dar claims that the Department of Agriculture (DA) has begun “conceptualizing” how to hit the P20/kg target and has come up with some recommendations.
Adopting the Masagana 99, a program started by Ferdinand Marcos Sr., the late president, is one of them, he claimed. As part of the program, the government would encourage farmers to use recently developed technology to increase the nation’s average rice crop yield to 99 kaban per hectare.
According to Dar, the current national average yield of inbred and hybrid rice is 4.5 metric tons per hectare or less than 100 kaban.
P27.50 per kilo of rice’ nearest we can do by now’ – Agri chief
“So that must be the aspiration there before. Now let’s go beyond that aspiration. So for inbred rice meron kaming konseptong [we have a concept of] Masagana 150,” this is equivalent to 7.5 metric tons per hectare, he said.
Dar stated that Masagana 200 would be used for hybrid rice.
Former DA secretary Manny Piol stated that it is not advisable to lower the price of rice to P20 because doing so would negatively impact Filipino farmers’ ability to make a living.
“Kung gusto ng Presidente, puwedeng gawin [If the President wants to do it, he can do it], but it’s not advisable, it’s not economically viable. It will cause government finance of losses, big time,” he said in an interview on CNN Philippines.
“The rule of thumb is the price of rice, divided by two is the price of palay. So kung P20 ‘yung bigas mo, P10 lang ‘yung palay noong farmer eh malulugi ‘yung farmer, hindi papayag ‘yun,” he added.
(If the price of rice is P20, then the cost of palay is P10. The farmers will lose profit because of that. They will not allow that.)