Traders caught selling rice at prices higher than the government’s suggested retail price (SRP) can lose their license, face jail time, and pay a fine of up to P1 million, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol warns.

Government will start imposing the penalties on violators once the guidelines take effect, Piñol said during the launch of the rice SRP guidelines for Metro Manila and Greater Manila Area covering the provinces of Bulacan, Laguna, and Cavite.

National Food Authority (NFA) Memorandum Circular AO-2018-10-002 dated Oct. 24, 2018 states that the guidelines will take effect 15 days following its publication in a newspaper of general circulation and upon registration with the University of the Philippines Law Center.

A national broadsheet published the guidelines on Oct. 26, said the NFA, which is now under the jurisdiction of the Department of Agriculture (DA).

Meanwhile, NFA Circular OCS-2018-J-01 has classified rice as either regular-milled, well-milled, premium, or special.

“There will no longer be names like ‘angelica’ and ‘sinandomeng’ for rice sold to the public,” said Piñol, who signed both circulars as chair of the NFA Council.

“There will no longer be names like ‘angelica’ and ‘sinandomeng’ for rice sold to the public.”

Excluded from SRP coverage are special rice varieties, such as those produced in the uplands, Piñol said.

The SRPs for local regular-milled, well-milled and premium rice are at P39, P44 and P47 per kilo respectively, based on NFA Circular OCS-2018-J-01.

The circular added that the SRP for imported well-milled rice is at P39 per kilo. “However, there’s no imported regular-milled rice,” NFA Quality Assurance Division assistant chief Mario Andrada said on the sidelines of the launch held at the Commonwealth Market in Quezon City.

Andrada noted that imported premium rice has either 2 percent broken grains (PG1) with an SRP of P43 per kilo, or up to 5 percent broken grains (PG2) to be sold at P40 per kilo..

Piñol said government has set the SRPs for rice to help protect consumers from profiteers.

“The government has set the SRPs for rice to help protect consumers from profiteers.”

In setting the SRPs, he said, government considered not just production and related costs but profit as well, so rice traders must not over-charge consumers.

“The rule of thumb is to multiply palay price by two to determine the selling price of rice,” Piñol said.

“That means if traders bought palay at P18 per kilo, the selling price must be P36 per kilo only,” he said.



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