Hoarding for a cause: RSA offers help to curb soaring rice prices
San Miguel Corp. president Ramon S. Ang has offered to buy all the rice needed to ensure a steady supply of the staple grain as worries over spiraling rice prices mount amid the government’s failure to to control the situation.
Manila Standard columnist Antonio Lopez said San Miguel plans to import rice in bulk to help bring down the price, which has been soaring beyond the means of ordinary people.
Quoting Ang, Lopez said San Miguel plans to sell the rice at a much cheaper price. The conglomerate also plans to procure rice from local farmers to help boost farmworkers’ incomes and yield more stable and affordable rice prices.
“Once the government decrees tariff free importation of rice, San Miguel plans to import rice in bulk (not in bags) using its fleet of bulk carriers and its network of grain ports nationwide. The rice will be stored in silos using an air and moisture technology so that the rice you eat on your tables will be free of bukbok and lingering pesticides, and best of all, fresh, ensuring that San Miguel imported rice is yummy and delicious,” Lopez said.
“The country needs to import at least two million tons of rice a year. For the long term, San Miguel wants to contract hundreds of thousands of farmers, probably a million, to grow rice. San Miguel will provide the varieties, the feeds, the farm technology, the supervision, the warehousing and transporting and best of all, the guaranteed price and market,” he added.
To entice more people to go into rice farming, SMC is even open to paying double the price of rice.
” Rice is a dying industry. The average age of the rice farmer is 57. None of his children want to inherit the job. They would rather flock to the city, get a degree, join a BPO, become a seaman, a Saudi construction worker, or a hotel worker. Ang’s idea will make entrepreneurs of every rice farmer,” Lopez said.