Protecting farmers urgent with PH as biggest rice importer – Pangilinan
MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan wants measures put in place to protect farmers as doing so would ensure food security, especially now that the Philippines has reportedly surpassed China as the biggest rice importer in the world.
“We should all be deeply worried by the news that the Philippines has surpassed China as the world’s biggest importer of rice,” Pangilinan said in a statement issued on Monday.
“This means that our country has become perilously dependent on other nations for our everyday food — for out everyday rice,” he added, partly in Filipino.
According to Pangilinan, the Philippines is set to reach a record-high 3 million metric tons of rice imports this year, while China is only importing 2.5 million metric tons.
“Urgent action is demanded. Provide cash assistance to help our farmers through these lean times. Raise the tariff for rice imports,” Pangilinan said.
“Immediate and proper use of RCEF [Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund] for mechanization and increased productivity. Correctly implement the Sagip Saka Act to increase the incomes of our farmers ASAP,” he added. “Let’s not wait for our number of farmers to decrease and let ourselves eventually depend on other countries for our food. Let us protect our farmers now to protect our food security.”
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