Rice Is the Philippines’ “Most Critical Problem”


During a trip to Zambales, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. stated that the rice supply is currently the Philippines’ “most critical problem.” Rice prices have topped a high of 65 PHP per kilo in some wet markets in Metro Manila, and the Marcos administration is trying to bring down the prices.

“That is something that we are attending to with all of the partners that we have both in government and in the private sector,” said Marcos Jr.

The President is also concurrently the agriculture chief. In mid-August, he stated that the government is “closely monitoring” rice prices, citing high farmgate prices and some imported farm inputs as contributors to the price hike.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros, a member of the opposition, stated that “the inept leadership” at the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the National Food Authority are to blame for the “soaring” prices.

“Malacanang should not look for culprits elsewhere, as the main culprits are within the DA itself. There may or may not be hoarders and price manipulators; let’s wait for the results of the investigations that the President ordered. What is clear is that the DA should acknowledge its central role in the alarming rise in rice prices,” she said.

During his presidential campaign, Marcos promised to bring down rice prices to 20 PHP per kilo. Agriculture Undersecretary Leocadio Sebastian earlier admitted it was “hard” to attain that, adding, “We never promised.”

National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Arsenio said that Marcos’s 20 PHP per kilo of rice vision would only be possible if agriculture productivity improved as the country needed to do a “lot of catching up” on the matter.

According to data from the DA, rice demand from July to December 2023 is projected at 7.76 million metric tons.

The DA is now planning to import more than one million metric tons of rice to augment supply in the market.