Palay production in the country saw a robust growth of 3.2% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2023, reaching a total of 5.02 million tons, according to data released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
This significant increase outpaced the 4.87 million tons reported during the same period last year, indicating a positive trend for the agricultural sector in the face of the ongoing challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite disruptions and uncertainties, farmers have persevered and contributed to the country’s overall agricultural output.
Alongside the growth in production, farmgate prices of palay experienced some fluctuations. While prices increased by 1.4% year-on-year to reach an average of P17.49 per kilo during the period, they were 4.7% lower compared to the previous quarter’s average of P17.66 per kilo.
Prior to the implementation of the Rice Tariffication Law under the Duterte administration, higher farmgate prices of palay had contributed to an uptick in rice prices.
The law aimed to liberalize rice imports, with the goal of stabilizing and reducing prices. Since its implementation, rice prices have remained relatively steady, with inflation hovering around zero percent in recent years.
However, the PSA has observed a shift in rice inflation starting in February, with a gradual increase noted in certain regions.
While rice inflation in Metro Manila has remained relatively low, other areas have witnessed a rise, reaching 2.2% in February and further escalating to 3.6% in April. These fluctuations in rice prices and inflation rates call for ongoing monitoring and analysis to ensure food affordability and stability for consumers.