DA to compensate hog raisers in Antipolo City after culling operations

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 26, 2019   •   2062

Photo by Kameron Kincade/Unsplash

The Department of Agriculture (DA) will compensate the hog raisers in Barangay Cupang, Antipolo City after conducting culling operations.

Several of the small-time hog raisers complained that their pigs were culled despite being healthy.

In a statement, the DA said they directed the Bureau of Animal Industry to conduct culling operations within the 1-kilometer radius of the infected piggery to prevent the spread of disease.

There were reports in the area that there were pigs that died due to suspected disease.

The city government, meanwhile, promised they will pay P3,000 per seized hogs.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar assured that there is a protocol for every culling operation.

Dar also said the department will also provide assistance to the hog raisers aside from the cash assistance from the city government.

“After this, iyong sakit ay na-control na doon sa lugar. Bibigyan natin ng ayuda (the disease was controlled in that area. We will provide aid),” he said.

The agriculture secretary also said there is still no confirmatory laboratory test results so they will continue implementing the prevention, quarantine, and food safety measures.—AAC (with reports from Jennica Cruz)

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DA to review Rice Tariffication law as Phl ranks as world’s biggest rice importer

Maris Federez   •   November 12, 2019

Filipino port workers unload sacks of rice, which are imported from Vietnam to be distributed by the National Food Authority (NFA), inside a ship docked at Surigao port, Mindanao, southern Philippines, 15 April 2008. EPA-EFE/ALANNAH TORRALBA (FILE)

MANILA, Philippines – A United States agency report reveals that the Philippines has become the world’s biggest importer of rice, just months after the rice tariffication bill was enacted.

The US Department of Agriculture – Foreign Agricultural Service report also projected that the Philippines will have imported a total of 3-million metric tons of rice before the year ends.

This is 58% higher compared to the 1.9-million metric tons of rice that the country imported in 2018.

The Philippine reportedly outranked China – the biggest rice importer– which is expected to import 2.5 metric tons of rice.

The Department of Agriculture record, however, said that this early, the Philippines has already imported 2.99 million metric tons from January to October.

DA spokesperson Noel Reyes added that 1.8 million metric tons of the total amount of rice that the country has imported were placed after the enactment of the rice tariffication bill in March.

“We cannot restrict. Kasi kung ire-restrict mo ‘yan, we are going against the law, unless the law says, we can only import so much,” Reyes said.

The DA admitted that there may have been an over-importation of rice in the country.

Because of this, DA Secretary William Dar and Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food Chairperson Cynthia Villar are planning to review the said law.

“That’s the feeling of the department because of the complaints of farmers and farmers groups,” Reyes said.

“That’s the wish of the secretary and Senator Villar after a year, they have to review the RTL (Rice Tariffication Law) and probably put in some more provisions so as not to over-exceed our rice requirements,” he added.

Several farmer groups share the same sentiment.

The Federation of Free Farmers (FFF) said the government must raise the rice importation tariff and focus on increasing the presence of local rice in the market.

“Kapag dumating na ‘yung panahon na naubos na ‘yung sobra, pwede naman nilang tanggalin ‘yung additional tariff na ‘yun para magpasok ulit ng imported. Ganun sana ang laro nila,” said Raul Montemayor, FFF National Manager.

“Parang gusto nating mamatay ‘yung magsasaka, na wala tayong nilagay na control sa import, pasok lang ng pasok ‘yung importation, pabagsak ng pabagsak ang palay, at parang napakahina ‘yung response ng gobyerno,” he added.

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), on the other hand, believes that the Rice Tariffication Law must be scrapped.

The group said the latest record of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) shows that the farm gate price of palay (grains) is now at P15 per kilo.

The KMP, however, said there are still several areas in the country where farmers sell their produce at P10 per kilo.

“Hindi na rin po namimili ang National Food Authority kasi po sa ilalim po ng Rice Tarrification and Liberalization Law, hindi na po sila mamimili ng palay sa magsasaka kaya po lalo pong binabarat ng mga malalaking traders at cartels,” said KMP chairperson Danilo Ramos.

In a statement, Bantay Bigas group spokesperson Cathy Estavillo said that they have been giving warning that the rice tariffication law will gravely affect the local farmers.

 “As we have decried repeatedly, RA 11203 will turn Filipinos into beggars of imported rice.  We all have witnessed this law causing bankruptcy to rice farmers, and this will lead to displacement and ultimately declined productivity,” Estavillo said.

To date, the price of a regular milled local rice is somewhere between P35 and P38 per kilo in several marketplaces in Quezon City.

The DA, on the other hand, is confident that the price of rice will continue to go down to P30 per kilo.

The agency also sees a downward trend in rice importation by next year as the local production improves. (from the report of Harlene Delgado) /mbmf

President approves use of remaining contingency fund to aid hog raisers affected by ASF

Maris Federez   •   November 7, 2019

Pigs in a backyard piggery are seen before culling after symptoms of African Swine Fever (ASF) were detected in the Pasong Tamo village of Quezon City, Philippines, 03 October 2019. According to local media reports, three other areas of Quezon City have registered cases of ASF, as the Philippines Department of Agriculture urged pig traders not to transport pigs from affected areas to prevent the virus from spreading any further. EPA-EFE/ROLEX DELA PENA

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the use of the remaining of the contingency fund of his office to extend assistance to the hog raisers who were affected by African Swine Fever (ASF).

This is one of the concerns brought up in the 43rd cabinet meeting with the President.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said such a measure is necessary given the current state of the hog industry.

“It is necessary because we need funds to help in the—in the drive. We need to help the hog raisers,” Panelo said.

Reports said that the hog industry had already lost billions of pesos and that around 70,000 pigs have now been put to death due to ASF infection since August.

According to Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary William Dar, the said contingency fund amounts to P1-Billion.  (from the report of Rosalie Coz) /mbmf 

DOF coordinates with other gov’t agencies for full TradeNet rollout

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 7, 2019

The Department of Finance (DOF) is coordinating with the Department of Information Communications Technology (DICT) and the Department of Agriculture (DA) for the full TradeNet rollout.

TradeNet.gov.ph  will simplify import and export documentary processes covering an initial 7,400 regulated products.

According to the DOF, TradeNet aims to speed up cargo clearances and promote economic integration by enabling the electronic exchange of border documents among the 10 ASEAN member-states.

Finance Undersecretary Gil Beltran said the DA is a key component of TradeNet since it is one of the regulatory bodies that process permits for imports and exports, particularly of agricultural products such as rice.

“The DA has created project teams for integrating sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) certificates in TradeNet and the ASEAN Single Window (ASW),” he said.

Once TradeNet is fully operational, traders may apply online for import and export permits for commodities such as rice, sugar, used motor vehicles, chemicals (toluene), frozen meat, medicines (for humans, animals, or fish) and cured tobacco, Beltran said.—AAC

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