Millers urge government to buy locally-produced rice

Marje Pelayo   •   May 21, 2021   •   1082

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)

Philippines to export more mangoes, pineapples to US

Robie de Guzman   •   August 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — More Philippine-grown mangoes and pineapples will soon be exported to the United States, the Department of Agriculture (DA) announced.

The DA said the development comes after its Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) and the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) reached a deal during a virtual meeting held on August 12.

“Expanding the export market of Philippine pineapples and mangoes in the US and other countries will not only enhance our national economy, but more importantly, provide increased incomes to thousands of farmers and their families in pineapple- and mango-producing provinces nationwide,” Agriculture Secretary William Dar said in a statement.

The recent agreement between the APHIS and BPI could dramatically increase the country’s exports of pineapples and resume shipments of mangoes to the US via additional ports of entry, he added.

The Philippines currently exports fresh pineapples to the US through Guam, Commonwealth of Marianas Island, and North Atlantic regions. From 2013 to July 15, 2021, exports amounted to only 346,190 kilograms.

The country previously exported fresh mangoes to the US, from 2005 to 2008, totaling 386,099 kilograms, all produced in Guimaras Island, the DA added.

The DA said USDA-APHIS accepted evidence that the Philippines’ main export pineapple variety is not a host to the oriental fruit fly.

The fruit pest, known scientifically as Bactrocera dorsalis (Hendel), is very destructive and often finds its way into the US, sometimes triggering wide-scale eradication programs.

The Philippines may start shipping pineapples to various US markets before year-end, the DA said.

DA: Metro Manila’s supply of agricultural products enough for ECQ

Marje Pelayo   •   August 5, 2021


MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture (DA) assures Metro Manila has enough supply of agricultural products for the duration of the two-week enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

According to Agriculture Assistant Secretary Kristine Evangelista, the agency will mobilize rolling stores during ECQ to bring farmers’ produce near the affected communities.

“Mayroon na po tayo ngayong mga truck na may dalang gulay. Ikino-coordinate din po namin ito sa mga local government units para at least yung areas, barangays who need the most ma-cater po natin ang kanilang pangangailangan,” Evangelista said.

Specifically, 10 Kadiwa trucks will be visiting various locations in Metro Manila where consumers may be able to buy basic farm products like chicken, pork, vegetables, and rice among others.

Products are available for wholesale or retail, the official said.

The DA assures all products in their Kadiwa stores are way cheaper than those available in public markets.

Also, on-site Kadiwa stores located at the DA Central office compound and other areas in Metro Manila will remain open.

Meanwhile, transporter of goods or delivery services especially of perishable items are still allowed under ECQ provided they present their food pass which can be obtained from DA.

“We have our database so yung mga na-issue-han last year na nasa database naman po mas mabilis po maiisyuhan ngayon in case nawala nila yung food pass nila. Kung hindi naman po nila nawala ay valid po yan,” Evangelista stressed.

The DA said that although the supply is enough, the prices may vary depending on the prevailing weather condition.

DA, SBMA to put up country’s first border control facility for agri products

Maris Federez   •   July 8, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) are in talks of establishing the country’s first of five border control facilities.

In a news release dated July 7, the DA said the establishment which will be named the Cold Examination Facility in Agriculture (CEFA) will be built at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone in Zambales.

The DA said it is targeting 100 percent inspection of farm, fishery, and meat products to ensure their quality, determine and confiscate erroneously declared shipments, and prevent the entry of transboundary pests and diseases.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar met with SBMA chairperson and CEO Atty. Wilma Eisma on June 30.

Dar said Eisma fully supports the proposal of the DA to construct and operate the Subic CEFA.

The DA said that once operational, “the Subic CEFA will be able to conduct full and thorough inspection of containerized agricultural commodities through risk assessment, complemented by x-ray screening of the Bureau of Customs (BOC).”

The system will subject all farm, fishery, meat, and food imports to 100% sampling and laboratory testing.

“The Subic Bay Freeport Zone is an ideal location because it is well-connected to the main Metro Manila highways,” the DA chief said.

“The CEFAs will initiate a new way of conducting first-border inspections, as well as host more thorough examinations, as you can open all arriving imports in one cold warehouse and have ample time to examine them,” he added.

Dar added that negotiations of establishing another CEFA at the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) compound at the Manila International Container Port (MICP) are still ongoing between the DA-BAI and DOTr-PPA.

The DA said that it also plans to put up similar CEFA in the ports of Batangas, Cebu, and Davao.

For the Subic CEFA, the DA proposes to use a 2,000-square meter lot at the freeport zone for 25 years, renewable upon mutual agreement.

Secretary Dar is confident that the partnership will transform the Subic International Port into the country’s major hub for agricultural product imports.

“We thank SBMA chair and CEO Eisma for the smooth negotiations, pending approval of the SBMA Board, that will jumpstart the process of procurement. We wish the facility constructed as soon as possible,” he said.

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