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NFA bans importation of ‘fancy rice’ starting today

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, September 25th, 2018

MANILA, Philippines — The National Food Authority Council under the Department of Agriculture (DA) has banned the importation of 5 percent broken milled white rice, also known as “fancy rice” starting today, September 25, in an effort to bring down rice prices in the market.

DA Secretary Emmanuel “Manny” Piñol said the aim of rice importation is to stabilize rice prices in the market by increasing supply. However, the entrance of fancy rice in the market has effectively hiked the price of local rice.

“Ngayon kapag ang iniimport ay fancy rice…lalo lang tumataas ang presyo ng bigas kasi sila ‘yung nagseset ng trend at P55-P58 per kilo, Jasmine rice, long grains and so on…humahabol ngayon ‘yung local na bigas, nasa P45/P48,” said Sec. Piñol.

This has prompted him to recommend to the NFA Council not to allow the importation of 5 percent broken rice and to set the limit of allowable breakage percentage at 25 percent only.

Piñol said this will allow the government to recover control over the price of rice in the market.

He also announced that importation will now be strictly supervised by the Department of Agriculture.

“Magpapadala po kami ng inspectors. Kung halimbawa Vietnam, bago ikarga ‘yung bigas, magpapadala ako ng tao kasama taga-NFA. We will inspect, may bukbok ba ‘yan, walang bukbok, ‘yan ba ay 25% broken, para wala nang lusutan,” the DA Secretary said.

Meanwhile, the NFA Council will be giving incentives in the form of tractors and free use of flatbed driers among others, to encourage Filipino farmers to sell rice to the NFA. — Asher Cadapan, Jr.

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Ompong leaves P26-B damage to agriculture

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, September 25th, 2018

MANILA, Philippines — Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol confirmed on Monday, September 24, that Typhoon Ompong inflicted P26 billion worth of damages to agriculture.

The country’s rice production was the hardest hit with the destruction of 765,000 metric tons of rice valued at P14.5 billion.

Corn production was the next to suffer with P8.1 billion worth of losses.

This is apart from the damages on irrigation facilities, machinery and other equipment estimated to be over half a million pesos.

Piñol said this has been the biggest agricultural damage after super typhoon Yolanda struck in 2013 causing P35 billion worth of agricultural damages.

Despite this, the agriculture secretary believes that the price of rice will remain stable as the 750,000 metric tons of imported rice are expected to arrive before the year ends.

“I don’t think there will be much movement actually sa palay prices sapagkat mayroon tayong losses sa Ompong, mayroon naman tayong parating na importation. Nasa mga ganoon pa rin, mga 20 (pesos),” Piñol said.

Meanwhile, he said that the department has allotted funds to aid the victims; however, he said that it will not suffice.

Due to this, Piñol is set to submit today, September 25, to President Duterte a masterplan on the rehabilitation of Ompong-affected areas.

“Hindi sapat ang pondo kaya nga gumagawa tayo ng masterplan which we will submit to the Office of the President tomorrow because we are hoping that we will be able to convince Congress to allocate funds.”

The Secretary is also set to convene local officials next month to create the local food security plan that will help the country’s growing population. — Yssa Jalmasco/Asher Cadapan | UNTV News & Rescue

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DA grants P30-M agri aid to over 500 Bukidnon farmers

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, September 14th, 2018

Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol (c)

Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol led the granting of farming equipment and financial aid to over 500 farmers in Talakag, Bukidnon, Friday, September 14.

The Department of Agriculture provided the farmers’ association P20 million capital for vegetable production; four (4) forward tractors; five (5) carabaos and five (5) cattle; and different varieties of seeds.

The initiative is part of the DA’s plan to develop the 10,000 hectare of land in Talakag into a major plantation of high-value crops.

Secretary Piñol said time will come when the country will no longer lament the rising prices of vegetables in the market because Bukidnon would be the new leading source of high-value vegetables. He explained that Bukidnon’s cool climate and fertile land are suitable for farming.

The local government of Bukidnon on Wednesday began the drafting of the five-year development road map for vegetable production in Impasugong, Talakag, Sumilao and Lantapan (IMTASULA). — Raymond Octobre

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Duterte not dismissing Piñol, NFA officials over rice woes

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Monday, September 3rd, 2018

President Rodrigo Duterte

PASAY CITY, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday (September 2) said he is not firing Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol and National Food Authority (NFA) Administrator Jason Aquino over rice woes in the country.

During his speech before departure to Israel, the President said he does not see any reason to dismiss them from office amid criticisms over rice issues.

 “Maybe the laws are weak or unenforceable. All we have to do is to improve on those laws, not necessarily fire people. I don’t see any serious offense there. We have really not lost anything except that there’s aberration in the market,” Duterte said.

Calls for Piñol and Aquino’s resignation are mounting for their alleged incompetence in handling the rice crisis that includes insufficient supply, high prices and weevil infestation on imported rice.

In a statement, Secretary Piñol thanked the President for his continued trust and confidence.”

“I promise to do my best to live up to his and the Filipino’s expectations,” Piñol said.

During his speech, the President mistakenly referred to Piñol as Secretary Silvestre Bello III, who he said would pursue a bid in the 2019 senatorial race.

“Hintayin na lang ninyo because October, I think, Bello is going to run for senator. There’s no need to fire him,” the President said.

In reaction to this, Piñol said that if it was him, he believes that it was just one of the President’s jokes.

“I don’t know if the President was referring to me when he said ‘Bello’ will run for senator. If it was me, I know the President was just joking,” he said.

“The President is aware that I neither have plans nor desire to run for the Senate as I have intimated this to him in previous conversations,” the Secretary added. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Nel Maribojoc)

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