Egay Uy .
THE retailers of rice at Cogon public market made noise against the imposition of the suggested retail prices of locally produced and imported rice. They complained they were not given enough time to dispose of their inventories which they purchased from their suppliers at prices higher than the imposed rice SRP.
Right after the launching of the rice SRP implementation on Nov. 8 by the Department of Agriculture and the National Food Authority, which was attended by the representatives of the Cagayan de Oro City Price Coordinating Council, the market rice retailers association of Cogon market, the grains traders confederation, Cocpo, the committee on trade and commerce, and several other personalities including those from the local media, the representatives of the rice retailers aired their lamentations over a local radio station.
The actual date of implementation of the joint memorandum circular of the DA-NFA and the DTI setting the SRP for rice was the day after the launching or on Nov. 9. Another round of inspections was conducted by the NFA and other involved agencies, including the CdeO-CPCC, and it was found out, and expectedly so, that there were violations committed by rice retailers.
These violations mostly were on the kind of price tags and labels placed in rice bins. The prices indicated on the price tags did not violate the prices set under the SRP but were mainly on the prescribed form and color.
In a hurriedly called meeting on Monday, Nov. 12, which I was able to attend at the CEED office in Cogon market, the rice retailers were again complaining about their losses due to the imposition of the rice SRP. To the satisfaction of the rice retailers, the NFA came up with a solution that was accepted by the retailers – if your rice inventory qualifies as special rice or premium grade rice, then sell it as such, not as well-milled or under any other category.
The buying public must also be wary about how the retailers will categorize rice in their bins. It is important to know the categories so that the consumers can determine the right prices when buying rice.
The suggested retail price of locally produced regular-milled rice is pegged at P39 per kilo; well-milled is at P44 per kilo. Imported rice has no regular-milled category while the SRP for imported well-milled rice is at P43 per kilo.
Imported rice categorized as premium grade 1 is sold at P43 per kilo while Grade 2 is sold at P40 per kilo. Its local counterpart is sold at P47 per kilo. It is best to know these prices so that when the consumer buys his rice, he will be paying for the right quality and grade.
It is best to be informed.
(Egay Uy is a lawyer. He chairs the City’s Regulatory and Complaint Board, co-chairs with the city mayor the City Price Coordinating Council, and chairs the city’s Joint Inspection Team. He retired as a vice president of Cepalco.)