Despite assurances from the government that prices of commodities will remain stable, agriculture stakeholders forecast spikes in the cost of basic agricultural products like chicken and rice.

Grains Retailers’ Confederation (GRECON) national spokesperson  Orly Manuntag said there is an impending P2 to P3 increase per kilo of local rice, owing to the increase in the buying price of palay.

“We expect this by mid-November. It might be an increase of P2 to P3 pesos kilo of rice in the market. Usually during the holiday season, our prices are stable and steady, however, we noticed that the increase in the buying price of palay is driving rice prices,” Manuntag said.

According to him, the buying price of palay by the National Food Authority (NFA) has increase form P18 to P23 per kilogram (kg) plus another P3-incentive from the local government units (LGUs) of rice producing regions.

While the wet cropping season is almost over, the buying price of paddy rice spikes to P27 to P28/kg, rice retailers said.

That’s only for local rice. Imported rice from Vietnam has also exhibited increases of $20 to $30 per metric ton (MT), while rice from India, Pakistan and Thailand have remained stable.

On the other hand, prices of dressed chicken is likely to remain stable given the huge volume of imports that has arrived in the previous months and the good performance of the local poultry sector.

Prices of chicken at the farmgate level have dropped to P104 to P106 per kilogram last month, said United Broiler Raisers Association (UBRA) president Elias Inciong.

“This means, we have high inventory of chicken and producers are trying to load up for the holidays. But this could also mean that there might be some delays in local production, meaning there could be a slight increase in prices in the first two weeks in December, but prices are early January, as producers scamper to load up,” he said.

“That’s why we don’t expect a major increase in prices. But remember, retail prices have a life of its own. They can easily increase, even if there is sufficient supply. This only means that somebody is making a killing,” he added.

Chicken producers said demand also impacts on the prices of poultry. The lofty inflation rate and elevated prices of commodities and fuel may also dampen demand.

At present, a kilo of chicken retails at P160 to P190 in groceries, while a month ago, prices ranged from P193 to P213 per kilo. Import arrivals also helped in keeping prices at affordable levels.