Farmers group fears losing over P140B to Rice Tariffication Law, plans protest

Marje Pelayo   •   November 18, 2019   •   1411

MANILA, Philippines – A group of farmers is planning a massive protest against the implementation of the Rice Tariffication Law.

Federation of Free Farmers Chair Leonardo Montemayor said farmers might lose up to P140 billion or about P30,000 per hectare worth of income if the law’s implementation continues.

The group noted the significant drop in prices of palay from about P20/kg last year to only around P15/kg this year as a result of the unimpeded importation of rice in the country.

“This is more than 10 times the damage brought by Typhoon Yolanda to the agriculture sector in 2013, and it is all man-made,” Montemayor lamented.

Thus, the group is demanding compensation from the government to cope with the problem.

“We demand that all affected rice farmers be adequately compensated for their actual and projected losses,” Montemayor said.

He urged the government to triple the 35% tariff for rice imports in order to prevent an oversupply of imported rice in the market.

“We are feeling the painful effects na napakababa nung 35 (percent). Kulang po (that 35% is very low. It’s not enough),” Montemayor argued.

“Roughly in my calculation, it should be at least 100%, otherwise, malulunod tayo (sa bigas) (we’ll drown in rice),” he added.

The group is brewing a demonstration that can happen in the coming days as their way to air their grievances and in hopes that the government will reconsider reviewing the Rice Tariffication Law.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Finance (DOF), however, already expressed that they have no plans of amending the said law. – MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Millers urge government to buy locally-produced rice

Marje Pelayo   •   May 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Under Executive Order 135, the tariff on rice from countries like India, Pakistan and China will be reduced to 35% from 40% to 50%.

Agriculture group Samahan ng Industriyang Agrikultura (SINAG) said traders might divert and buy imported rice than the locally-produced one because of price differences.

As a consequence, millers would need to buy rice from local farmers at a lower price.

“Doon sa P24 na landed cost (ng imported rice), ang pwede nilang bili sa farmers is P15 ang dry, ang wet ay nasa P12. With that price, malulugi ang farmers dahil wala pa sa break even price iyon,” said SINAG’s Rosendo So.

Thus, millers are calling on government to buy locally produced rice through the National Food Authority (NFA) at P17.50 per kilogram and a milling fee of P3 to P5 per kilogram.

SINAG estimates that the government needs P205 billion to buy around 12 million metric tons of harvest from June to December this year.

“With this new EO, kung mag backout ang magsasaka dahil ang miller ay hindi bibili ng mataas dahil malulugi sila, malaking shortage natin sa bigas,” So added.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar said that the NFA can only buy a limited volume of rice.

“NFA will only buy because they are mandated to maintain buffer stock, so yun lang ang bibilhin ng gobyerno,” Dar said.

The official said that only the 10% deficit in local rice production will be allowed to import.

Dar added that farmers are now enjoying the benefit of the rice enhancement competitive fund under the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL).

“The farmers, sabi naman nila dati, aatras sila because of the RTL. The farmers continue to plant,” Dar noted.

He said the intention behind the lowering of tariff was to make rice affordable. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Mababang presyo ng palay dahil sa rice tariffication law, itinanggi ng DA

Robie de Guzman   •   October 5, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Mariing pinabulaanan ng Department of Agriculture ang alegasyon ng ilang grupo ng mga magsasaka hinggil sa umano’y pagbaba ng presyo ng palay dahil sa ipinatutupad na Rice Tariffication Law.

Una nang nanawagan ang grupong Federation of Free Farmers sa Kongreso na imbestigahan ang pagpapatupad ng Rice Tariffication Law dahil sa naging epekto nito sa presyuhan ng palay.

Ayon sa grupo, bumaba sa P11 hanggang P13  kada kilo ang presyo ng basang palay habang nasa P14 hanggang P17 naman ang halaga ng tuyong palay.

Anila, ito ay dahil umano sa hindi kontroladong importasyon ng bigas at walang kasiguruhan sa polisiya ng kagawaran.

Ngunit ayon kay Agriculture Secretary William Dar, walang katotohanan at  ‘exaggerated’ lang ang alegasyon ng ilang grupo at ilang dating opisyal ng kagawaran.

Aniya, paraan lang ito upang maisulong ang kanilang panukalang amiyendahan ang mga probisyon ng rice tariffication law.

“The interest groups, along with former DA officials, have exaggerated data on palay to push for the amendment or repeal of the RTL (rice tariffication law). They are resurrecting old arguments against RTL,” ang wika ni Dar.

Batay aniya sa survey ng Philippine Rice Information System (PRISM) na isinagawa mula Setyembre 16-30, 2020, nasa P18 kada kilo ang average na presyo ng palay sa Central Luzon habang P19 naman sa Cagayan Valley.

Ang dalawang rehiyon ang nangunguna sa produksyon ng palay sa bansa na katumbas ng 31.5 percent ng total harvest noong 2019.

Sa ulat naman ng Philippine Statistics Authoroty, lumalabas na nasa P17.12 kada kilo naman ang farmgate price ng palay sa huling dalawang linggo ng Setyembre – mas mataas kumpara sa P16.18 kada kilo na presyo sa kaparehong panahon noong 2019.

Ayon kay Dar, ang mga nasabing survey ay nagpapakita lamang ng totoong presyo ng palay na taliwas sa sinasabi ng ilang grupo.

“Makikita dito na hindi nagkakalayo ang data na ginagamit ng gobyerno, and definitely the reality is, hindi kasing baba ang presyo ng palay as interest groups claim on social media,” ang wika ni Dar.

Tiniyak naman ni Dar na nakahanda ang National Food Authority na bilhin ang palay na ibinibenta ng mga magsasaka sa halagang P19 kada kilo na nasa mga bodega at buying stations sa bansa. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Vincent Arboleda)

Multi-sectoral group calls for repeal of rice liberalization law; doubts Duterte’s sincerity in suspending rice importation

Maris Federez   •   November 20, 2019

A multi-sectoral group expressed doubts on President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s sincerity when he announced that he is ordering the temporary suspension of rice importation in the country.

The group went on to call for the stoppage of the implementation of the Rice Liberalization Law.

The group claimed that the President’s pronouncement may be just like what happened to the other promises he made but were left unfulfilled.

The President made the announcement to address the complaints of farmers of the severely low price of palay as imported rice flooded the local market brought about by the Rice Tariffication Law.

The Bantay Bigas group doubts the President’s sincerity.

“Puro salita […] Wala siyang inisyu na Executive Order para ipakita na talagang sinsero siya doon sa ihinto iyong rice importation (All talk […] He didn’t issue any Executive Order to show that he is sincere in stopping the rice importation),” said Bantay Bigas spokesperson Cathy Estavillo.

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), on the other hand, dared the President to make good on his announcement to suspend the rice importation as it called on the National Food Authority (NFA) to buy the farmers’ palay at a price not lower than P20 per kilogram.

“Stop killing the rice industry. Save the rice farmers,” said KMP Chairman Rafael Mariano.

The group suggested that the President may direct Congress to suspend and review the Rice Liberalization Law.

Meanwhile, President Duterte will meet with Agriculture Secretary William Dar to discuss the planned suspension of rice importation. (from the report of Mai Bermudez) /mbmf

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