Kohaku rice from Vietnam short in Davao market, retailers say

A long queue of buyers wanting to avail Kohaku rice brand from Vietnam on Tuesday, 09 July 2024. MindaNews photo by IAN CARL ESPINOSA

Large rice distributors in this city do not have enough supply of the popular imported “Kohaku” rice brand from Vietnam for about a week now, rice retailers and buyers said Tuesday.

MindaNews saw a long line of rice retailers and buyers waiting to buy Kohaku rice from big players along Monteverde Street here past noon Tuesday, with some of them coming back to try their luck.

They were told that Kohaku rice is coming “soon” in batches.

The catch, however, is that retailers or small buyers can only buy “limited Kohaku rice sacks per person per day” in the stores in Monteverde and F. Bangoy Streets, where wholesale rice distributors are located.

Rey Masumpad, a rice retailer and store owner from Barangay Mintal, told MindaNews they have been going back and forth since Saturday just to buy Kohaku rice, but to no avail.

“Wala na mi stock, wala na mi mapalitan [og Kohaku rice]… nagbalik balik na mi diri, pero walay karga, alkansi kaayo sa tobil (We don’t have Kohaku rice stocks anymore. We have been coming back and forth here but went home empty handed. We’re spending money for gas),” Masumpad stressed.

Another buyer, who declined to be named, said she panicked and rushed to buy directly from the rice distributor in Monteverde Street because of a social media post about the imported rice’s shortage.

“Nakita nako ang Facebook post, ana siya nga nagkagubot na daw ang mga tao, miadto ko ron, gamay ra jud diay bugas (I saw the Facebook post saying that people there were in chaos. When I went there, I saw that rice supply was indeed scarce,” she said.

Other dismayed buyers told MindaNews that they are “more than disappointed” that they will only get a limited number of Kohaku rice supplies.

But in a statement on Tuesday afternoon, Macario Gonzaga, Department of Agriculture – 11, director said that “there is no shortage of rice supply, contrary to a ‘misleading’ Facebook post” in the city.

Delays blamed

Some sellers of rice along Monteverde Street told MindaNews they had the same supplier, and that “they will receive their Kohaku supply within the week.”

“Tungod man gud naay mga delay sa barko, nag-dock na gud, pero wala pa mi natagaan, sobra usa ka semana na. Karon ra ni nahitabo(There have been delays with the ship that carries the rice supply. It had already docked, but we haven’t received anything yet. It’s been more than a week. This happened only now),” Jocelyn Mansale, a worker of one of the rice distributors along Monteverde street, told MindaNews.

Mansale said some local distributors had already received their Kohaku stocks, but theirs was scheduled on Wednesday, July 10. Their Vietnam-based supplier, which she declined to name, had missed last week’s schedule.

She said the Kohaku rice is “very popular,” and that when the ships carrying those rice supplies failed to deliver on time, it affects their stocks as well.

“But there’s nothing to worry about, there is [Kohaku] rice. It was just delayed,” Mansale said, adding that retailers or ordinary buyers can opt to buy the available local rice stocks instead.

Another rice wholesaler, who requested anonymity, said the delays in shipping were because “the big suppliers are holding their rice supplies to wait for the effectivity of the lower rice tariff.”

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., through Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin, signed Executive Order No. 62 on June 20 cutting down rice tariffs from 35 percent to 15 percent, starting on July 6.

The executive order said that the rice tariff was adjusted with an aim “to augment supply, manage policies, and temper inflationary pressure of various commodities.”

“So, kung July 6 siya magiging effective, we can expect within August na magkakaroon na ng mga darating na bigas kung i-a-apply agad iyong ganoong taripa, bagong tariff scheme sa bigas,” Department of Agriculture Assistant Secretary Arnel de Mesa was quoted as saying by the Presidential Communications Office in an article posted on June 22. (Ian Carl Espinosa / MindaNews)

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