Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol had found out why the prices of rice in the market had skyrocketed in the last few months and implemented remedies accordingly.
Initially, Piñol blamed the high price to the shortage of NFA rice so the government imported several hundred thousands metric tons of rice from Thailand.
When the rice price remained high, he then blamed rice traders who were allegedly hoarding and not selling their stocks that artificially raised prices of the grain.
Next to be blamed were huge markups of traders and middlemen, corruption at NFA, the many requirements on farmers selling harvested rice, smuggling of rice and typhoon “Ompong.” Now the secretary is citing the different names of the grain varieties as the cause of its high price.
The “dinorado,” “jasmine” and “sinandomeng” rice sold in the market are not the real rice varieties sold in the market and retailers are just cheating and deceiving customers, according to Piñol.
He proposed that rice labels be changed to reflect the grains’ generic names instead of based on the rice variety names. If the NFA Council approves his proposal, rice sold in the market will only be labeled as regular milled rice, well-milled rice, long grain head rice and special rice which will include heirloom and organic rice.
Rice retailers will be required to stick to the said names or risk losing their rice trading licenses, according to Piñol.
Changing the labels of the rice according to the said names may make it hard for retailers to cheat or sell a different grain variety. But for buyers, it’s not the rice name but the number on the price tag they want changed to a low amount.