Farmers to lose P114-B a year if farm gate price of palay remains low — Piñol

Marje Pelayo   •   July 17, 2019   •   1415

Rice farmers in the Philippines

MANILA, Philippines – Local farmers may lose up to P114 billion if the farm gate price of fresh palay remains low, according to Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol.

At present, the price of palay ranges only from P12/kg to P14/kg which is lower than the P20/kg, the price that was in effect before the implementation of the Rice Tarrification Law (RTL) in March.

Secretary Piñol noted that traders earn huge income from the liberalization of rice importation.

He also pointed out that the landed cost of rice is only a small amount like those which are imported from Myanmar which is only P18/kg.

Because the new law stripped off National Food Authority’s (NFA) regulatory function, traders have become aggressive in pushing for more importation.

“Masyadong ganadong mag-import yung mga trader right now kasi feeling nila wala ng magko-control sa presyo ng bentahan ng bigas sa palengke. So napakalaki ng margin of profit nila, (Traders have become more aggressive to import because they believe nobody else will control the pricing of rice in local markets so their margin of profit is increasing),” the Agriculture chief said.

Based on the Department of Agriculture’s monitoring, rice prices at present ranges from P32/kg up to P70/kg with only about P1 to P2 drop per kilogram.

This is about a quarter of the expected reduction in the price of commercial rice in relation to the implementation of the rice tariffication law which is supposedly P7/kg.

The Department is set to implement the suggested retail price (SRP) on commercial rice starting next week which ranges from P35/kg to P38/kg.

“We would like to address the greed of some importers doon sa markup nilang napakalaki (regarding their very high markup) by setting a cap on the selling price of imported rice

The official said the implementation of the SRP is based on the Price Act wherein violators may be fined.

The NFA already implemented the SRP on rice in the past but it was invalidated due to the implementation of the RTL.

Piñol said that the law did not specify a limit on the amount of rice that the country may import.

However, it gives the President the authority to increase tariff in the event of oversupply. – 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

Earthquake damage, losses in Mindanao agriculture reach P13M

Marje Pelayo   •   November 7, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) has noted the extent of damage that the recent earthquakes have caused to agriculture in North Cotabato and Davao del Sur.

Based on its latest report, the DA said damage and losses in earthquake-affected areas have already increased to P13.33 million from the initial P4.55 million.

The increase in the amount is attributed to the additional structural damage in Davao del Sur.

Among those damaged were several agricultural facilities, irrigation systems, and office buildings.

The DA assured that its regional offices are having an on-going physical inspection of the affected areas to further estimate the cost of damage and losses incurred.

Meanwhile, relief support has been continuously distributed to affected residents through the DA’s collaboration with concerned government agencies and non-governmental organizations. MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)

Confiscation of meat products found positive of ASF did not follow protocol – DA

Maris Federez   •   October 25, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) called out the Provincial Veterinary Office in Oriental Mindoro for failing to observe protocol in confiscating meat products that were found to have been contaminated with the African Swine Flu (ASF) virus.

Instead of placing the meat products in separate containers, the PVO personnel put everything in just one container.

“Nung makumpiska po kasi eh napagsama sama ng ating provincial veterinary. Yung protocol dapat pong masunod na pag hiwa-hiwalayin po talaga dapat,” DA Usec. Ariel Cayanan said.

He said the home-processed meats may have already contaminated the other seized processed products.

The DA said most of the meat products confiscated by the PVO were homemade and only one was a branded product.

The said meat products that were seized in Calapan, Mindoro came from Manila.

Thinking that the branded product may have only been contaminated by the others, the DA will conduct another testing on the other products of the said brand.

“Pag tinest na po natin yung nandudoon at nag negative naman po, then the benefit of the doubt ay dapat pong maibigay sa kaniya (the manufacturer) kasi nag negative nga po e,” Cayanan said.

The DA has refused to mention the name of the said product.

The department also said the hog raising industry has already incurred around P1-Billion due to the culling operations conducted.

It is also continuously coordinating with the authorities to ensure that meat products that have not gone through the right process will not find their way to the market.

The DA also called on the hog raisers not to even try to consider selling their pigs once they get sick, and report the matter to the authorities to prevent the spread of the ASF virus. (From the report of Vincent Arboleda  /mbmf)

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