Press Releases


March 5th, 2024

One takeaway: It’s all about rice.

Vegetable prices are down. Corn prices are down. On the aggregate, utility bills are down versus last year. Even sugar prices are down on a year-on-year basis.

In other words, if the government were to be obsessed with one thing, it must be rice. Rice is up 23.7 percent year-on-year, and month-on-month inflation was at an elevated 1.0 percent.

Moving forward, the interventions of the Department of Agriculture and the Cabinet as a whole must be laser-focused on rice.

Increasing importation at this time might not necessarily be the correct approach. The first harvest season of the year begins at around April. The Indian elections could take place around May – which means the political pressures that underly the rice export ban in India could ease. So, by June, rice prices could actually stabilize.

What the DA can do in March is ensure that all post-harvest support is ready for immediate use by April. Post-harvest losses amount to as much as 12-15 percent, and Secretary Tiu-Laurel has been hyperfocused on dealing with this issue.

We must also ensure that logistics issues at the port, in farm-to-market roads, and other potential supply bottlenecks are eased.

This will be a crucial thirty days, so we need all hands on deck.

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