Governor talks to farmers regarding rice tariff law - Nueva Vizcaya, Philippines
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Governor talks to farmers regarding rice tariff law

By on August 30, 2019

Governor talks to farmers regarding rice tariff law

Governor Carlos M. Padilla called for an emergency meeting with the agricultural sector on August 27 at the NV Pasalubong Center to discuss on the impact of the Rice Tariffication Law in the province.

The said meeting was attended by Board Members Nestor Sevillena and Patricio Dumlao, National Food Authority (NFA) – NV Manager Cora Pangan, Provincial Agriculturist Alexander Domingo, members of agriculture and irrigation associations and some other PLGU officials and employees.

Governor Padilla wanted to meet the agricultural sector so that he will be guided by the collective wisdom and sentiments of the Vizcayanos on the Rice Tariffication Law before going to the meeting set by Agriculture Secretary William Dar with the different governors in the country.

The Rice Tariffication Law benefits rice consumers but is a threat to the local farmers. The initial effect of the law resulted in the increase of imported rice.

The province produces 6.3 million bags of rice annually. The NFA has 4 bodegas in the province which could only accommodate 150,000 bags. The NFA had already bought 110,000 bags from the local farmers and also has an inventory of 80,000 bags of imported rice. According to Pangan, NFA is already doing outside piling just to accommodate the local farmers.

NFA buys ready to mill grains to the price of P20.70/kg, while private traders buy at P18/kg. Private traders’ price for newly harvest grains is P12-P13/kg and P16/kg for skin dry. Instead of buying rice from local farmers, traders would rather buy imported rice.

This September, NFA will be buying grains from the farmers and the provincial government is looking for bodegas to stockpile the grains. With the Rice Tariffication Law, NFA could no longer buy imported rice. It is the private traders who are importing rice with no limitations.

Even if the province has enough bodegas, what is the assurance that the rice will be disposed with the uncontrollable importation of cheaper rice? This is another issue the governor is trying to find solution to so that the people and the government would not end up losers.

According to local farmers, the Rice Tariffication Law is slowly killing the livelihood of the farmers. They said that they can no longer meet their needs. The preference for cheaper imported rice will drive rice farmers to bankruptcy. Rice production will fall and make people even more dependent on imported supplies. #bg