Davao City opens first farmers trading post

Robie de Guzman   •   May 30, 2019   •   2032

A food terminal project seeking to serve small-scale farmers was finally opened in Toril, Davao City on Tuesday.

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, who graced the grand opening of the Davao Food Terminal Complex in Daliao, said the trading post for small-scale fruit and vegetable farmers is part of the city government’s response to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal to achieve food security.

The opening of the food terminal also seeks to improve nutrition, promote sustainable agriculture and defeat hunger amid increasing food demand worldwide.

Duterte-Carpio said the food terminal will serve as trading post for farmers where they can directly deliver their products.

It consists of 16 stalls and a dormitory for those from far-flung villages who wish to stay at the terminal to sell their goods.  

“The best feature of this food terminal is its cold storage area that farmers may use so they won’t be forced to sell all their goods when they come here. They may opt to store their produces first then sell at a price they want,” the mayor said in a mix of English and Davaweño languages.

The project, funded at P70 million, was conceptualized in 2014 as partnership between the city government and the Department of Agriculture region 11.

Under the partnership, the operations of the food terminal will be managed by the city government until a farmers’ cooperative and association has been formed.

‘Tisoy’ destroys P530-M worth of crops in CALABARZON, Bicol

Marje Pelayo   •   December 4, 2019

A handout photo made available by Greenpeace-Philippines shows villagers working among damaged houses in the aftermath of Typhoon Kammuri in Legazpi city, Albay Province, Philippines, 03 December 2019. EPA-EFE/BASILIO SEPE

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) reported an estimated damage to agriculture from the onset of Typhoon Tisoy in CALABARZON and the Bicol Region which reached to P530-million.

Based on initial assessment received by the Department, around 3,800 farmers and over 14,000 hectares of farm land were affected by the typhoon.

The DA assured to provide the affected farmers with seedlings to recover from their losses after the typhoon destroyed palay, corn and other high value crops in their areas.

Meanwhile, the DA has P250 million in Quick Response Fund which is readily available for rehabilitation of farm lands affected by the typhoon.

The said amount is apart from the P65-million fund under the Survival Recovery or SURE Program of the Agriculture Credit Policy Council.

The Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation, for its part, also assured to pay for the damaged crops.  – MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)

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

Duterte opted to ‘work from home’ instead of 3-day rest

Marje Pelayo   •   November 12, 2019

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte joins other leaders during the plenary session of the 16th Annual Meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club at the Polyana 1389 Hotel in Sochi, Russia on October 3, 2019. RICHARD MADELO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has decided to go home to Davao City after visiting the wake of businessman John Gokongwei Jr. on Monday night (November 11).

Earlier, Malacañang announced that President Duterte will have a break from his pressing schedule and spend time with his family for three days.

However, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the President declined the suggestion and instead, opted to work from home.

“While the demands of pressing work that go along with the highest position of the land are unceasing, the people can rest assured that the President can keep up with the same and is in the best position to know how he can maintain to be on top of his health,” Panelo said.

On Monday, Malacañang clarified that President Duterte’s decision to stay in his home in Davao City is not health related and there is no reason for him to file an official leave.

“Well upon the advice of friends, of colleagues, and the world it seems and most likely upon the advice of doctors also to take a respite from his punishing schedule. (No medical concern?) Wala naman (None at all,)” Panelo assured. – MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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