Sale of subsidized P29 rice expanded to more stores

THE Department of Agriculture said on Thursday that it plans to expand its subsidized rice program to 10 stores beginning Friday July 5.

Agriculture Assistant Secretary for Consumer and Legislative Affairs Genevieve E. Velicaria-Guevarra said that the department is aiming to attract about 60,000 households per month to KADIWA stores selling rice at P29 per kilo to vulnerable members of society.

“We have around 10,000 metric tons for this trial. This can last for the next six months,” Ms. Guevarra added.

For the large-scale trial, the DA said it will sell the below-market-price grain on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

She said that the trial will gather date for use in wider implementation of the scheme. It will also work out a system for monitoring beneficiary usage via booklets.

The DA has said that it is targeting 34 million vulnerable individuals, including persons with disabilities, solo parents, and senior citizens, as well as those below the poverty line.

Each beneficiary is entitled to purchase 10 kilograms per month.

“We are expecting that in the coming months, we will be able to double the sites where the P29 per kilo rice will be sold,” she added.

“In the coming weeks or next month, we can go to Visayas and Mindanao and expand the area,” Agriculture Assistant Secretary and Spokesperson Arnel V. de Mesa said.

Rice for the subsidy program will be taken from ageing rice stocks of the National Food Authority.

Mr. De Mesa added that the DA is also preparing a subsidized rice program for the public, which would also sold at KADIWA centers.

“We will have a separate program later called ‘rice for all’ where rice prices would be sold relatively cheaper than (retail),” he said.

Nationwide, there are 265 established KADIWA centers along with 119 pop-up stores operating on scheduled rotations.

Well-milled rice prices in Metro Manila markets were seen between P48 and P55 per kilo, while regular-milled rice was seen at P48 and P52 per kilo, according to the DA’s price monitoring as of July 3. — Adrian H. Halili