Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Department Of Agriculture To Launch Rice For All Program This July


Department Of Agriculture To Launch Rice For All Program This July


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In line with the directives of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., the Department of Agriculture (DA) will launch its “sustainable” Rice for All program this July to provide the general public with cheaper rice.

In an interview on Monday, Agriculture Assistant Secretary Arnel de Mesa said all details and measures of the Rice for All program will be finalized within the week, with a planned initial launch at Kadiwa sites hosting the P29 program.

The P29 program refers to the subsidized rice at PHP29 per kilogram to the vulnerable sectors, including members of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), senior citizens, solo parents, and persons with disabilities (PWDs).

The DA launched the large-scale trial for the P29 program last July 5 in 10 Kadiwa stores: Bureau of Animal Industry Dome and National Irrigation Administration in Quezon City; the Bureau of Plant Industry in Malate, Manila; Food Terminal Inc. in Taguig City; Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority in Las Piñas; Bayani Fernando Central Terminal or BFCT and Barangay Fortune in Marikina; and sites in Caloocan, Valenzuela, and San Jose del Monte, Bulacan.

The Rice for All Program, meanwhile, will sell rice to the general public at PHP45/kg. to PHP48/kg.

“We want this (Rice for All) to be a sustainable and long-gestating program. Ang target natin hanggang matapos ang termino ng Pangulo (Our target is until the end of the term of President),” de Mesa said.

He said the supply for the Rice for All program will be a mixture of imported and local well-milled rice from partner farmer cooperatives and private traders.

There is also a likelihood that the Rice for All program may sell rice at lower prices, due to the declining trend in the world market.

From USD543 per metric ton (MT) in May, the price of rice in the world market went down to USD531 in June.

With the current level, de Mesa said the landed cost of imported rice may range from PHP38/kg. to PHP40/kg., much lower than the PHP48/kg. to PHP50/kg. landed cost range recorded during the USD600/MT level last December 2023.

As of July 5, the price of imported regular-milled rice ranges from PHP47/kg. to PHP51/kg., and PHP52/kg. to PHP55/kg. for well-milled rice, according to the DA-Bantay Presyo.

De Mesa said the DA aims to expand the P29 and Rice for All programs, in collaboration with local government units, in the Visayas and Mindanao by August.


Purchase limit

De Mesa, meanwhile, said the DA is also looking at setting a purchase limit for the Rice for All program to prevent abuse.

“Isa iyan sa pinag-aaralan namin kasi pwedeng ma-subject sa abuse kapag walang limit. Kapag binili iyan, baka mamaya ibenta sa mas mahal lalo na kung bultuhan ang bibilhin mo (That’s one of the issues being studied because it may be subject to abuse if there’s no limit. They may buy in bulk and resell it at a higher price),” he said.

The DA earlier implemented a 10-kilogram in 5-kilo increments purchase limit per household for the P29 program.

Besides purchase limits, logistics and choice of locations are also being evaluated to ensure better access to the public.

To date, there are 472 Kadiwa stores nationwide, including 266 regular Kadiwa stores, 119 regular Kadiwa pop-up stores, 52 regular Kadiwa ng Pangulo (KNP) sites, 32 Kadiwa-on-wheels, and three Kadiwa centers. (PNA)