Industry Strategic Science and Technology Plans (ISPs) Platform

Philippine Rice Updates: Increased Farmgate Price, Tariff Cuts, NFA Procurement, Terrace Revival, Rice Root System Enhancement, and Biogas Innovation

Discover key updates in the Philippine rice sector: increase in farmgate price, tariff cuts for lower prices, active NFA rice procurement efforts, the revival of historic terraces, enhancement of rice root systems, and innovative biogas solutions.

Image Source: Inquirer

Increased Farmgate Price of Unmilled Rice

On June 14, 2024, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported that the average farmgate price of unmilled rice increased by 30.2% from Php 19.06 per kilogram (kg) in May 2023 to Php 24.81 per kg in May of this year. Data from PSA revealed that the highest farmgate price increase was recorded in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), where the average prices registered a year-on-year growth of 43.6% from Php 18.39 per kg last year to Php 26.40 per kg this year. Meanwhile, the slowest year-on-year increase in farmgate prices was recorded in Eastern Visayas at 11.7%, from Php 17.51 per kg last year to Php 19.56 per kg this year.

Tariff Reduction on Imported Rice Approved by NEDA to Lower Rice Prices

On June 12, 2024, Agriculture Secretary Francisco P. Tiu Laurel Jr. announced that consumers could enjoy reduced rice prices as early as July, following the tariff adjustment approved by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) on June 4, 2024, which decreased tariff rates from 35% to 15% until 2028. This decision aims to drive down rice prices for consumers while supporting local rice farmers through tariff protection and increased financial backing to enhance agricultural productivity. 

The reduced tariffs are expected to directly impact the rice market, potentially lowering retail prices by as much as Php 7 per kilogram, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). However, concerns voiced by the Federation of Free Farmers (FFF) suggest that the influx of cheaper imported rice could depress local palay prices by Php 3 per kilogram in wholesale markets, where domestic rice is also traded. 

To mitigate these risks, close monitoring of market dynamics is crucial, emphasizing the need for government intervention to stabilize prices and support local farmers. On June 10, 2024, the Philippine Rice Industry Stakeholders Movement (PRISM) advocated for a grace period of two to three months to allow stakeholders to adjust to the new tariff regime, ensuring minimal financial impact from existing rice stocks bought at higher prices. PRISM further urges the Department of Agriculture (DA) to implement a comprehensive safety net program. This program should include subsidies for seeds, fertilizer, and cash incentives to safeguard the income and livelihoods of local rice farmers amidst potential market fluctuations. 

NFA’s Move to Secure Rice Supply

On June 9, 2024, National Food Authority (NFA) Acting Administrator Larry Lacson reported that the agency is poised to surpass its palay procurement target for the first half of 2024 even before the period ends. The agency has already procured 2.93 million 50-kilo bags of palay, or 97% of the agency’s 3.08 million 50-kilo bags target for H1 2024, as part of the agency’s efforts to stabilize the rice market and ensure sufficient rice supply. 

The high procurement was driven by the price adjustments implemented by NFA last April, wherein the clean palay buying price went from Php 23 per kg to Php 30 per kg, the dry palay from Php 19 per kg to Php 23 per kg, and the fresh and wet palay from Php 17 per kg to Php 23 per kg. Agriculture Secretary Francisco P. Tiu Laurel Jr. also reported that NFA has put up a “fast lane”  which quickly provides service to farmers selling  50 bags or less of palay to the agency.

Revival of Ifugao Rice Terraces and Enhancement of Rice Root Systems to Boost Local Production

On June 10, 2024, DA Assistant Secretary for Logistics Daniel  Atayde announced that the agency decided to bring back to life the abandoned or idle rice terraces in the province of Ifugao to help sustain the country’s rice supply and aid in lowering rice prices. DA Cordillera Director Jennilyn Dawayan mentioned that the agency will allocate budget and resources that will be used to rebuild and finance the reactivation of famous centuries-old terraced farms of Banaue, Kiangan, Hungduan, and Mayoyao in Ifugao, all of which have been recognized as a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). In the following weeks, DA will determine the number and condition of the abandoned terraces to compute for the rehabilitation funding that will be included in the agency’s budget for 2025. 

By reactivating these agricultural sites, farmers stand to benefit from increased access to fertile land for rice cultivation. This initiative promises to boost rice production and offers a chance for farmers to improve their livelihoods through sustainable farming practices. With government support and resources allocated for rehabilitation, farmers can expect enhanced infrastructure and technical assistance, potentially leading to higher yields and stable incomes. 

To also help improve the country’s rice production and secure rice supply, the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD) is funding a project titled “Molecular Mechanisms of Root System Formation for Genetic Improvement of Rice Adapted to Water Stress Conditions,” at the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) Central Experiment Station. This project is implemented by the Crop Biotechnology Center (CBC) and led by Dr. Roel R. Suralta and DOST Balik Scientist Nonawin B. Lucob-Agustin. The project aims to enhance rice root systems for better drought adaptability.

It focuses on the genetic aspects of rice root development, particularly the L-type lateral roots, which are vital for water and nutrient absorption, stability, and soil adaptability. The wavy root elongation growth 1 (weg1) gene has been identified as a key factor in promoting these roots. Initial findings showed that weg1 mutants have more extensive root systems and greater shoot dry matter production. 

The team developed a screening protocol combining hydroponics and a modified rapid generation advancement (RGA) technique to expedite the creation of new rice varieties with improved L-type roots. These findings are expected to benefit rice breeding programs in developing drought-tolerant varieties. The project also included training on root gene expression, epigenetics assays, and molecular tools, and it involved collaborations with Central Luzon State University (CLSU) and Nagoya University in Japan, formalized through a Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) and a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

Rice Straw Biogas Hub Project

On June 9, 2024, Straw Innovations Ltd. announced a collaboration with the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research (SEARCA), Koolmill Systems, and Aston University for the Rice Straw Biogas Hub project. This initiative aims to convert rice straw into biogas using advanced technology to address improper disposal practices. This initiative not only addresses the issue of burning rice straw but also offers a sustainable solution that could potentially generate additional income for farmers through the sale of biogas or by-products like compost.

The Environmental Sanitation Center in Tunasan, Muntinlupa City, showcased a digester designed by the Department of Science and Technology’s Industrial Technology Development Institute (DOST-ITDI), which converts waste into biogas for cooking and composting. Agricultural stakeholders expressed eagerness to adopt the biogas technology for sustainable rice straw management, stressing the need for farmer training and local government support. The project aims to enhance environmental sustainability and economic prosperity in Philippine farming communities and beyond by utilizing agricultural waste effectively. 

References: Arcalas, J. (2024, June 14). Tariff cuts to bring in more rice imports. Philippine Star. Retrieved June 14, 2024 from https://www.philstar.com/business/2024/06/14/2362646/tariff-cuts-bring-more-rice-imports

Bajo, A.F. (2024, June 4). NEDA OKs rice duty rate reduction, says P29/kilo targeted for poor. GMA Integrated News. Retrieved June 4, 2024 from https://www.msn.com/en-ph/money/economy/neda-oks-rice-duty-rate-reduction-says-p29kilo-targeted-for-poor/ar-BB1nA5mv?ocid=BingNewsSerp

Cabreza, V. (2024, June 10). DA to revive abandoned Cordillera rice terraces. Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved June 10, 2024 from https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1947759/da-to-revive-abandoned-cordillera-rice-terraces

Cahiles-Magkilat, B. (2024, June 1). FFCCCII backs rice tariff cut proposal, farmers vehemently object. Manila Bulletin. Retrieved June 10, 2024 from https://mb.com.ph/2024/5/31/ffcccii-backs-rice-tariff-cut-proposal-farmers-vehemently-object

Campos, O.V. (2024, June 10). Rice retailers seek grace period before implementation of tariff reduction. Manila Standard. Retrieved June 10, 2024 from https://manilastandard.net/business/economy-trade/314457895/rice-retailers-seek-grace-period-before-implementation-of-tariff-reduction.html

Ceballos, X.D. (2024, June 4). NEDA approves rice duty rate cut, targets P29/kilo for poor. Manila Bulletin. Retrieved June 10, 2024 from https://mb.com.ph/2024/6/4/neda-approves-rice-duty-rate-cut-targets-p29-kilo-for-poor

Galang, G.C. (2024, June 9). NFA on track to exceed first-half palay procurement goal. Manila Bulletin. Retrieved June 10, 2024 from https://mb.com.ph/2024/5/31/nfa-on-track-to-exceed-first-half-palay-procurement-goal

Monzon, A.M. & Lagare, J.B. (2024, June 9). DA sees rice price drop in July; farmers grumble. Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved June 10, 2024 from https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1948739/da-sees-rice-price-drop-in-july-farmers-grumble?utm_source=(direct)&utm_medium=gallery

Pasahol, S., Platino, A., Buan, A., Carlos, L. (2024, June 9). Rice straw to biogas: Transforming residues to revenues–and clean environs. Business Mirror. Retrieved June 10, 2024 from https://businessmirror.com.ph/2024/06/09/rice-straw-to-biogas-transforming-residues-to-revenues-and-clean-environs/

Pelonia, A. (2024, June 10). Rice import arrivals hit 2.08 MMT–report. Business Mirror. Retrieved June 10, 2024 from https://businessmirror.com.ph/2024/06/10/rice-import-arrivals-hit-2-08-mmt-report/

Pelonia, A. (2024, June 14). PSA reports higher palay farmgate prices. Business Mirror. Retrieved June 14, 2024 from https://businessmirror.com.ph/2024/06/14/psa-reports-higher-palay-farmgate-prices/

Savanal, A.Q.C. & Macaraeg, J.M.A.V. (2024, April 17). DOST-PCAARRD, PhilRice to Improve Rice Root Systems for Increased Adaptability to Drought. DOST-PCAARRD Portal PCAARRD News. Retrieved June 17, 2024 from https://www.pcaarrd.dost.gov.ph/index.php/quick-information-dispatch-qid-articles/dost-pcaarrd-philrice-to-improve-rice-root-systems-for-increased-adaptability-to-drought?highlight=WyJyaWNlIl0=

Leave a Comment