DILI, 18 october 2023 (TATOLI) – Local rice retailers continue to urge the government to find a solution to address the soaring rice price in Timor-Leste.
Rice retailers and the communities considered that the government has not done enough to address the rising rice price which endangers poor families as many of them cannot afford to buy enough food to feed themselves.
The owner of the Manufahi Fortuna shop, Lusia das Dores, believes that the government’s intervention of granting a subsidy to rice importing companies, with US$5 per 25kg sack of rice, will not work, as prices continue to rise steadily, not only at the municipal and national level but also at regional and international level.
The continuous rise in rice prices makes it difficult for small rice retailers to make a profit and earn a living from selling rice in the municipalities.
“We sell the 25kg bag of rice for US$18.50 or US$19.50 in the municipalities, depending on the distance between the municipalities and Dili. Many families can’t afford it because it’s too expensive,” he said.
Luis Gutteres do Rego, a rice retailer from Comoro also said that the government’s intervention was very slow as consumers kept complaining about the soaring rice prices.
He said that they buy rice from rice importing companies, PERISOS, at US$17.50 per 25kg and resell it at US$18.50.
He recommended that the government must speed up its intervention to establish an affordable price to help Timorese communities.
On september 27, the Council of Ministers approved the Government’s Decree-Law on the temporary intervention measure to normalize the rice prices in the market by awarding a cash subsidy to importing companies.
“The price of imported rice, for sale in the warehouses of importing companies and for resale to consumers in the shops selling the most widely consumed rice, is stabilized at 50 cents per kg,” said in Government’s Press Release.
The implementation of this measure aims to help meet the population’s food needs at a more affordable price, compensate importing companies for import costs, and build up a minimum stock of 30,000 tons of rice for emergencies.
This measure will be in force for 180 days from the day following the publication of the decree-law approving it.
On tuesday (17/10), government signs agreements with importing companies to ensure the stabilization of rice prices in the country.
The signing of the agreements aimed to ensure that the price of imported rice sold in the warehouses of national rice wholesalers is set at a maximum of US$12 for each 25kg bag or parcel so that retail sales can be set at a maximum of US$50 cents for each kilogram of rice.
Journalist: José Belarmino De Sá
Editor: Filomeno Martins