MANILA, Philippines – On average, farmers are selling palay just a little above production cost, according to data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
The production cost of palay in the country is usually around P12 per kilo. The average farmgate price of palay is at P17.62, as of the 2nd week of August.
This means that farmers on average earn just P5.62 per kilo of palay sold.
If a farmer produces 4,000 kilos, it would mean earnings of P22,480 for that harvest period.
If the farmer's rice variety can grow in around 4 months, it means that a farmer earns just P5,620 per month.
However, Rappler found that Cavite's palay farmgate price is at exactly P12 per kilo. Assuming farmers there produce palay at P12 per kilo, this means that they sell it at break-even point. The PSA did not provide the production cost per region.
The highest palay farmgate price was recorded in Sorsogon at P22 per kilo.
However, it must be noted that these numbers provided by the PSA are provincial averages, which are prone to distortions if there are extreme values.
Farmers in Nueva Ecija have complained that farmgate prices can go as low as P7 to P8 per kilo. Some farmers said the selling price is at P12.
However, numbers from the PSA showed that the average farmgate price there is at P18.
As for retail prices, most regions reported that rice prices are still above P30 per kilo.
Regular milled rice is sold at P35.09 per kilo on average, while well milled rice is sold at P39.10.
Prior to the enactment of the rice tariffication law, economic managers touted that the measure would drastically bring down rice prices to P27 per kilo.
Metro Manila enjoys the cheapest prices, with regular milled rice at P28 per kilo and well milled rice at P33.60.
Sulu, one of the poorest provinces in the country, has the most expensive rice prices. Regular milled rice there is sold at P44 per kilo, while well milled rice is at P49.
In Nueva Ecija, the country's top rice producer, regular milled rice retails at P38 per kilo, while well milled rice is at P42.
Per region, data showed that Central Visayas registered the highest farmgate prices at P20.14 per kilo.
The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao registered the highest retail prices at an average of P39.17, even though its palay farmgate price is among the lowest in the country at P16 per kilo.
The PSA gathered information from farmers who sold their palay and traders who bought palay during the reference period. Samples were chosen purposively within the areas. – Rappler.com