DA: Farmers did not lose P68B in first year of Rice Tariffication Law
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture (DA) has denied that farmers incurred losses amounting to P68 billion during the first year of the Rice Tariffication Law’s implementation.
“Hindi naman sila nalugi ng P68 billion eh (They didn’t lose P68 billion),” DA Secretary William Dar said in a press briefing in Malacañang.
Dar was refuting a study by the Federation of Free Farmers (FFF), which claimed that farmers lost P68 billion since the Rice Tariffication Law was implemented in February 2019.
According to FFF, the losses of rice producers exceeded by P34 billion the gains that Rice Tariffication Law gave consumers.
The Rice Tariffication Law replaced the quantitative import restrictions on rice with tariffs.
Dar pointed out that government’s efforts to assist farmers should also be taken into consideration.
“Let’s take into account lahat po ng ayuda na binibigay ng gobyerno (Let’s take into account the assistance the government has been giving farmers),” he said.
Dar mentioned DA’s P2.5-billion Survival and Recovery Assistance (SURE) aid, P3-billion direct cash assistance, and the P10-billion Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) for farmers as among the government’s efforts to help rice farmers during the transition period in the implementation of the Rice Tariffication Law.
“Ang isang farmer, hindi naman lahat ay i ano mo sa gobyerno. Dapat magsipag at mas mataas pa yung ani niya para ipababa rin nya yung cost of production nya, then that will give him more opportunity in terms of higher income,” Dar said.
(A farmer shouldn’t rely everything to the government. They should work harder to increase their harvest so that they could also decrease their cost of production. That will give him more opportunity in terms of higher income.)
The Philippines has been tagged as the world’s biggest rice importer in 2019 since the country imported as much as 3 million metric tons (MT) of rice that year.
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