Failing to fulfill his deceptive campaign promise to bring down the price of rice to twenty pesos per kilo, the doubtful president has exposed his despotic tendency akin by ordering a price cap on the price of rice. The strategy is without a threat as the buying public is instructed to report any violation. Rice traders who are the middlemen raking huge profits by dictating farmgate prices of palay on one hand and dictating high prices of rice on the upper-hand.

The ploy had been successful as rice traders would resort to lending money to farmers during planting season at what appears to be usurious interest rates. With no fund support from government, or due to the intricate and difficult requirements to obtain loans, the quick recourse is to the loan sharks who require not more than a signature on a fine-print contract of adhesion, in some instances with a trust receipt agreement that could be used as basis for a criminal offense once the borrower-farmer fails to settle the loan.

With the directive from the doubtful president to set a price cap at twenty pesos per kilo, rice traders seem against the order and may not be abiding. Aside from the prospect of grossly reducing their usual huge profits, the price cap would affect their buying capacity to acquire voluminous stocks of palay to be sold when rice supply is scare, thereby commanding high prices in the market.

The skewed situation in the country is that rice traders are enjoying high returns on their investments with hapless farmers while the same impoverished farmers and the population living way below the poverty threshold suffer from controlled high rice prices that are hoarded until such time that rice supply is low. With low supply of rice that is often times artificial, causes high demand. Such situation is the convenient basis to set high prices of rice.

The strategy continues all year round as rice traders purposely release their stocks of rice to create an artificial over-supply which is used as basis in buying palay at low prices. The farmer could not refute the dictated low price of palay because the prevailing price of rice in the market is low due to the over-supply. Farmers just don’t have a choice where to sell their palay because they are tied to the loan sharks with their loans during the production season,

This is the sad reality where rice traders need not have farms to acquire rice at low prices. We have yet to hear our industrious farmers who are working in rice fields by their sweat and blood, be able to live decently as rice traders do. Living unfree from the proverbial bondage to the soil remains an endless agony for the hardworking farmer and his family are while rice traders live in luxurious lifestyle. Indeed, the price cap on rice prices is bound to be followed on the breach than in the compliance.
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