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Implementation of Rice Tariffication Law burdens local farmers – Stakeholders

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Thursday, July 11th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – A few months after the government began implementing the Rice Tariffication Law in March, the farm gate price of palay instantly went down.

Organic farmer and agrarian reform advocate Jaime Tadeo emphasized that the law hugely affects the prices of hybrid and brown rice.

He said the price of brown rice now ranges from P19 to P23/kg. from what used to be P25 to P30/kg.

“Medyo tinamaan ang magsasaka dahil ang dating napakagandang presyo medyo bumaba iyon, (The farmers were affected because the reasonable price they used to get has suddenly dropped),” Tadeo argued.

The reason for the price drop is because when supply of milled rice increases, the price automatically drops and this affects even the price of palay.

A retailer group, meanwhile, said that the new law may have minimal effect on them but they are more concerned about the farmers’ welfare.

 “Meron ngang safety nets ang gobyerno, ang NFA bibili parin ng P20.70/kg. Unfortunately, limited lang yung kanilang source, yung kanilang fund na ibebenta, (Even if the government has safety nets, the NFA still buys [rice from farmers] at P20.70/kg. Unfortunately, their source is limited as well as their funds),” noted Jaime Magbanua President of the Grains Retailers’ Associations of the Philippines (GRECON).

The group estimated that the price of regular milled rice may go down to as low as P30 to P32/kg and the effect of this will be mostly on local farmers.

“Ang presyo ng import hindi lalayo ang pinaka mababa 35 (pesos per kilo). Ang 32 (pesos per kilo) talaga mahihirapan sila halos wala naring kita sila doon, (The price of imported [rice] is not much different, the lowest being P35/kg. But with P32/kg, that’s burden (to farmers) because they earn nothing with that price,)” Tadeo said.

Retailers observed that canteen owners choose imported rice because of its commercial quality.

“Ang imported maalsa kaya mabili, (Imported rice is tastier so it’s more sellable),” said rice retailer Charing Doctor.

Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol once noted that the government needs to strengthen the country’s agriculture sector because rice supply in the global market is already depleting.

But for the farmers, the P10-B fund that the country will receive from tariffication of imported rice is not enough to support and achieve the country’s goal of making the agriculture industry sufficient.

“Napakaliit na lang noon. Kung hindi na mag-export ang Vietnam at Thailand at sila’y sapat na rin, saan tayo kukuha ng ngayon ng bigas? (That’s a small amount. If for instance, Viet Nam and Thailand stop exporting [rice] because they have enough, where else can we get rice?),” Tadeo concluded. – with details from Rey Pelayo

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NFA procures 1.26M sacks of palay from local farmers in Q1

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Thursday, April 4th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The National Food Authority (NFA) has increased its procurement of local farmers’ yield in the first quarter of 2019 by 6,149% higher than last year.

According to the agency’s first quarter report, the NFA has procured a total of 1.26 million sacks of palay from local farmers, from January to March.

This is way higher from the mere 20,540 bags procured in the same period last year.

NFA Officer-in-Charge Tomas Escarez noted that the agency was able to offer a much more reasonable deal with the local farmers.

“We are not surprised though because March is the start of the summer crop harvest and we were able to capitalize on our higher incentives versus the low buying price of palay traders.

While traders reduced their buying price to as low as P14.00/ kilogram, we on the other hand increased our buying price up to P20.70/ kg for clean and dry palay,” Escarez said.

Based on the NFA data, highest palay procurement as of March 31 by the NFA branches were recorded in Tarlac, Isabela, Occidental Mindoro, North Cotabato, Nueva Ecija, Sultan Kudarat, Bulacan, Bataan, Cagayan and Ilocos Norte.

Meanwhile, Escarez said the agency is now preparing for more palay procurement in the next two months in view of the dry season.

NFA also increased its previous target of palay procurement from 7.78 million bags to 14.46 million bags for 2019.

This is in accordance with the NFA’s new functions under RA 11203 or the Rice Trade Liberalization Law.

“NFA will continue to serve our farmers by buying their produce to ensure a reasonable return for their harvest especially now that farmers are suffering from the effects of El Niño and private traders are buying low,” Escarez said.

According to Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol, the locally produced rice will be out in the market by August when the stocks of imported rice are expected to be consumed. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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NFA eyes cheaper rice for Visayas, Mindanao

by admin   |   Posted on Tuesday, April 17th, 2018

FILE PHOTO: The low-priced regular milled rice from the Nueva Ecija Rice Millers Association

MANILA, Philippines — After rice traders from Luzon kept their promise to provide cheaper rice supply in the markets of Metro Manila, the National Food Authority (NFA) will meet next with rice millers and traders of Visayas and Mindanao.

This is to discuss the possibility of implementing the same program in the regions.

However, according to Grain Retailers Confederation of the Philippines (Grecon), they will study  first the feasibility of its implementation since there are areas in Visayas and Mindanao where the prices of rice are already lower.

Moreover, the traders always consider the high-buying price of rice in an area before sending supplies.

For now, the group is focusing on Luzon just as they promised President Rodrigo Duterte.

According to Grecon, they expect that on Thursday, April 19, commercial rice priced at P39 per kilo will be distributed to markets in Metro Manila.

The rice stocks will come from Isabela, Nueva Ecija, and Bulacan.

The group of millers clarified that the rice they deliver are newly-milled and if there are cheaper variants being sold in the market, those did not come from them.

“Mga lumang bigas yun ng mga traders ng ibang mga nagtitinda. Yung ibinibigay namin yung talagang pang serbisyo doon para sa commitment namin kay president,” Grecon national president Jaime Magbanua said.

(Those are old rice supplies from traders of other retailers. What we are offering is for public service, in keeping with our commitment to the president.)

Meanwhile, according to Magbanua, President Duterte has returned the National Food Authority (NFA), Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) and the Philippine Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority under the supervision of the agriculture department.

Malacañang has confirmed the revamp.

According to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, this was discussed by the NFA Council with the president last night.

The NFA said they are ready to cooperate with whichever department they will be under.

“Wala namang problema sa amin kung saan kami under. Ang importante maayos natin itong ating issue na kakulangan sa buffer stock ng NFA,” said NFA spokesperson Rex Estoperez.

(It’s not an issue with us what department we’ll be under. What’s important is addressing the deficiency in NFA’s buffer stock.)  — Rey Pelayo | UNTV News & Rescue

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Philippine Competition Commission studies rice issues, warns traders vs manipulating rice prices

by admin   |   Posted on Wednesday, February 14th, 2018

 

Prices of rice

MANILA, Philippines — One of the sectors that the Philippine Competition Council (PCC) is focusing on is agriculture, including the movement of rice prices.

The National Food Authority (NFA) already admitted that the stock of NFA rice has been depleted, but the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Office of the President are both resolute that there is no shortage of rice in the country.

PCC was created in 2015 and its primary mandate is to ensure that there is a competition in the market.

“Tinitingnan namin yung production, tinitingnan naming yung distribution at saka paano siya nakakaapekto sa merkado (We are looking at production, distribution and how these affect the market),” said PCC enforcement office director Atty. Orlando Polinar.

The PCC has warned businessmen against manipulating the supply and price of rice.

Polinar said they may face a million peso fine for the first offense with five to seven years imprisonment.

“Bawal na mag-uusap na mag-fix ng price. Bawal na mag-uusap para i-manipulate ang bidding. Bawal sa mga competitors na mag manipulate ng supply,” said the Polinar.

(It is illegal to discuss the fixing of prices. It is illegal to discuss the manipulation of the bidding process. Competitors are not allowed to manipulate supply.)

Meanwhile, the National Food Authority (NFA) is now drafting measures on how to beef up their buffer stock.

One of which is by way of encouraging rice farmers to sell their products to the agency.

The NFA Council earlier announced that the government-to-private mode of procurement will be used for the importation of 250,000 metric tons of NFA rice which will arrive in the country in two to three months time.

“Anytime na may nagbebentang farmer tinatanggap yun (Anytime there is a farmer willing to sell, it is accepted),” said NFA spokesperson Rebecca Olarte.

NFA assured that they still have enough supply of rice for relief operations in the country. — Rey Pelayo | UNTV News & Rescue

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