Sunday, April 27, 2008


The rice retailers of Metro Manila's Suki Market are laughing off the notion of a rice supply crisis in the country. They unanimously attest that the rice millers where they get their supplies from are abundant with rice inventory.

Hence, the common lament among these rice sellers is not about the dwindling supply of rice, but the sharp decline in the retail end of the rice business since the price of rice started going up.

Meanwhile, after the recent raids in some rice warehouses conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), some rice millers are crying foul. They resent being unfairly called "hoarders."

During a recent meeting with Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap, some rice millers suggested that the nation ought to be rejoicing instead. They argue that the availability of large volumes of palays and rice proves that there is ample supply and milling capacity for the upcoming rice lean months of July, August and September.

Nevertheless, the NBI intends to continue its unannounced inspections of various rice warehouses. It is also reminding all warehouse owners to secure the appropriate licenses if they want to continue storing large inventories of rice.

Back in Suki Market, in an attempt to stay within their usual budget, many customers have been opting for a lower grade of rice. According to the rice sellers, the Sinandomeng has become the most sought after variety.

Previously retailing at about 25-to-26 pesos per kilo, the Sinandomeng has gone up to as high as 33 pesos during the initial days of the price increase. It has since leveled off at 30 pesos per kilo.

As for the less fortunate segment of the population, there is the government-subsidized commercial variety of rice. However, the government has recently pulled out this cheap NFA (National Food Authority) rice from the public markets.

Its distribution has been assigned by the government
to certain local government units (LGUs) and military contingents -- believed better able to identify the indigent members of the population.


posted by Señor Enrique at 11:50 AM


Blogger Sidney said...

If there is no rice shortage who is abusing of the situation and is making huge profits?

April 27, 2008 4:15 PM  

Blogger reyd said...

I'm reading this rice crisis issue from different media, medyo naguguluhan ngayon ako. :D
The panic buying, hoarding issues, long lines and the pullout of NFA rice from the market have different sides of the story.
And.... ngayon ko lang nalaman na tayo pala ang pinakamalaking importer of rice sa buong mundo. (What happened?) :lol:
And I'm not blaming the population issue on this crisis. Pag ginusto nilang mag-kaanak. let them be, but they should be responsible for their future.

I'll post later on what I think about this rice issue.
Nagmahal na rin ang Thai rice dito sa US.
Yung binibili namin na jasmine rice, from $25/50lb is now $32 plus na. Kaya balik na lang siguro sa cheaper Homai rice from Costco. Lahat may limit na rin dito. 2 bags per person...(like we can eat that much in a month) hehehehe!

April 27, 2008 4:33 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

There are some folks out there, Sidney, who point an accusing finger on rice cartels. Supposedly, these big-time rice merchants stand to benefit the most from this recent surge in the price of rice.

April 27, 2008 6:09 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

A very confusing matter it is, Reyd, but I'd like to read your take on it.

Yes, saw the news that rice in the US has practically doubled in price; sending many Pinoys out to hit the markets to get ample supply :)

April 27, 2008 6:14 PM  

Blogger Aura said...

I heard in the news few days ago that the Thais rice export has increase its price to $1.000 /ton so i guess after the cereals now comes the issue of rice.

Our rice hoarders are taking advantage of this issue to gain more profit regardless of the consequenses.

Lalong kawawa ang mga naghihirap na kababayan natin if the govt. wont do anything about it.

April 27, 2008 6:53 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Sadly, Aura, millions of Pinoys find themselves reduced as mere pawns in this game of economic sabotage.

Besides those in the rice cartel, the country being the way it is, a number of significant officials in strategic positions stand to make a ton of money as well from all this.

April 27, 2008 7:36 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's good and bad that this is happening now.

The situation is a wake up call that this could happen. Personally, I don't think there is a crisis yet! But before it happens, the crisis makes people and government aware of the the doom that it may be.

While there is time to plan and evaluate the situation, the world is taking noticed of a scenario of disaster in the making.

Every individual in this planet can help avert this crisis by 3Cs.... Conservation (minimal waste), Contribute in Farming or Agriculture, Control of population.

April 27, 2008 7:57 PM  

Blogger ScroochChronicles said...

Personally, I'd rather play it safe. My husband insists that there is nothing to worry about but I still made sure that we have enough rice to last us for a 2 to 3 months.

The funny thing is, now that we're all stocked up, I suddenly agree with my husband. Anyway, at least andyan na ang bigas.

BTW, NFA rice isn't so bad. It's actually quite palatable :D

April 27, 2008 8:12 PM  

Blogger nutart said...

at the height of the rice "shortage", my husband and i drove on to calapan, capital of oriental mindoro. left and right of us were rice mills either drying rice, milling them as well as stacks and stacks of rice sacks. it was really straight from the twilight zone where the newspapers screamed "rice shortage" and all around you was enough rice to feed a whole world it seems! but even here, it is P70 per ganta---in the land of rice paradise!! Why do i always feel i've been had? ;-(

April 27, 2008 9:35 PM  

Blogger Lola said...

ANO? No rice crisis? I am totally confused.

Even here, in this neck of the woods, rice has doubled in price. We don't live in the big city and there's hardly any asians around, so what gives?

April 28, 2008 3:13 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

The other positive thing that may come out of this crisis madness, Anonymous, is the awareness for other substitute foodstuffs for rice that may be prove to be even more nutritious, and cheaper to boot.

April 28, 2008 7:18 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Problem with NFA rice, Cookie, is that they are not so easy to find these. Thus, the supply crisis may be all about the NFA rice ... hehehe.

I spoke to some people who either do not have any idea where to buy them, or the lines are too long in buying this variety (they get sold out before the rest gets a chance to buy any).

I think what you and your husband did was similar to what many Asians living in the States did as well -- a mad rush to the stores to stack up. Nonetheless, they did get some but at a much higher price.

April 28, 2008 7:23 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

One rice merchant I spoke to, Bernadette, is really enraged about this whole situation and blames the rice cartel for the nonexistent rice crisis. He also said that his rice store has lost much business since the price increase -- his customers started buying the cheaper variety of rice instead ever since.

April 28, 2008 7:28 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Just like what the rice retailers I had spoken to had told me, Pat -- one only has to drive out to the rice millers located in the nearby provinces to see for themselves that there is no rice supply crisis whatsoever.

The only thing I can be sure of at this point is that somebody is raking in mega bucks from all of this confusion.

April 28, 2008 7:31 AM  

Blogger reyd said...

As I told you earlier, I'm just confused on what to believe in.
I know there is some sort of price increase in the food industry most likely because the price of oil.
I think the panic buying started when the NFA rice slowly disappeared from the regular market because of alledged hoarding by some rice cartels.
But who are those people? I read on one editorial that at least 4 of them are quite well known in the export/import industries.
Malamang malakas sa loob ang mga ito(they have connections inside the gov't). Like, what's new? :D
But still, the gov't warehouses were shown to be filled with imported rice and some workers inside are repacking them into plastic bags for retail or maybe it is just a propaganda that they are showing that there are still ample supply of NFA rice. But why the pullout of Gov't subsidized rice from public market?
That will look like the gov't is the biggest hoarder right now of rice. On the bright side, I read that some bulks of imported rice are coming in right now to ease the surplus of NFA rice. But for what price?
I don't have a lot of answers, but lots of questions right now.
But Pinoys always survive these kind of situations. Yung mga nagkapera dito, malamang, walang pakialam sa mamamayang Pilipino.

(I asked my nephew about the situation in the fast-food and Mall food courts) ~~~ Puno pa rin daw ng tao and even those buffet restaurants are doing good business.

All I can say is, hindi pa nag-gugutom ang karamihan sa Pinas.
We will hear their stomach grumble when everyone starts to rally in the streets.

EDSA XXX?? ... anong number na ba? LOL

April 28, 2008 12:01 PM  

Blogger Unknown said...

I was in Negros in March when the news of a rice crisis broke out. My relatives there are confused---they are harvesting rice and production is good. One aunt is a rice retailer and her inventory is good. Farmers who owe her money pay her palay on time, too (that’s a good sign!). So, what crisis is the government talking about? In the neighboring island of Panay, driving from Iloilo to Caticlan in Aklan, you would see endless rice fields on both sides of the highway. It’s almost impossible to believe that there we’re facing a rice crisis. The organic rice I’m buying from Ifugao at P34/kilo is now P39/kilo. And 2 weeks ago, there was a 6 x 6 truck selling NFA rice beside our barangay hall…the line was long. I sometimes wonder if this is one of government’s ploys to divert the public’s attention from political scandals. We produce about 90% of the rice we need and imports the remaining 10%...does importing 10% constitutes a crisis? Just wondering…

April 28, 2008 1:24 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

We share the same observations and sentiment on this issue, Reyd.

All I can think of is that in the midst of all these conflicting reports and orchestrated disinformation, somewhere out there someone is profiting immensely from this confusion.

April 28, 2008 7:41 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Thank you very much for sharing with us your observations, Luna. You said it all.

April 28, 2008 7:43 PM  

Blogger Panaderos said...

The problem with the country has always been the lack of transparency. As a result, government pronouncements on issues such as the rice crisis are almost always viewed with a high degree of skepticism. There's a lot of blame to go around from an inept goverment to unscrupulous businessmen who hoard the rice to panic buyers among the public.

The NFA is supposed to be the authority on the country's rice supply. It should be left out of the control of politicians so that its ranks could be professionalized to perform the tasks it was mandated to do effectively.

April 28, 2008 10:39 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've read about the rice issue as well and it's pretty confusing. But anyway, food prices are slowly increasing and the picture isn't really beautiful for now I guess. Hopefully things will take a better turn though.

April 28, 2008 11:01 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

ow golly, affected din kami ng rice shortage here in the US. bye bye jasmine rice for us sa ngayon. tiyaga na muna kami sa calrose, hehehe ;)

April 29, 2008 6:02 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

A bigger problem in all this, Panaderos, is the hoarding of the government-subsidized NFA rice and then being mixed with some good grade rice to be repacked and sold as commercial grade variety. Some even more unscrupulous merchants merely repacked the NFA rice as commercial grade. Hence, the supply of NFA rice allocated for the poor dwindles.

April 29, 2008 6:46 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

All I can say, Kyels, as I've felt all along, there is no rice supply crisis in the country.

April 29, 2008 6:47 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

The price increase on those imported rice, Nell, may be caused by the increase of transport costs due the increase of the price of oil.

Interesting how we also favored Jasmine rice in NYC ... hehehe.

April 29, 2008 6:49 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like everybody is capitalizing on the high price of oil, making every excuse to raise prices whenever they can.

There's a perceived shortage of food all over the world due to high cost of transporation and governments also penalize citizens with their green taxes. Can we blame all of these on our green insanity?

April 29, 2008 9:44 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I think its the oil cartel that started this whole price increase madness, BW.

April 29, 2008 1:01 PM  

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