Group says farmers lost P75B due to rice liberalization law
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO –– The rice price watch group Bantay Bigas estimated that rice farmers lost about P75 billion in income in most parts of 2019.
In a statement, Bantay Bigas Spokesperson Cathy Estavillo on Friday said the figure was thrice the P27.1-billion the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) calculated to have been gone due to the effects of Republic Act No. 11203 or the Rice Liberalization Law.
Estavillo called BSP’s estimates to be “conservative.”
She said the P75-billion loss was “due to depressed farmgate prices caused by the law.”
“This was based on the government’s data that last year’s volume of production decreased by one percent or 250,000 metric tons, and value with 21 percent or P80 billion, as compared to 2018. Moreover, this year’s first-quarter production dropped by 4 percent or 155,000 metric tons, compared to last year’s,” Estavillo explained.
Bantay Bigas has projected the rice self-sufficiency ratio to around 81 percent from 95 percent in 2016 to 86 percent in 2018.
Estavillo said the BSP monitored the rice sector’s losses from April 2019 to February 2020 and published its findings in the working paper “Deregulation and Tariffication At Last: The Saga of the Rice Sector Reform in the Philippines.”
Bantay Bigas also countered that the law gave consumers cheaper rice, pointing out that regular milled rice fetched more than P40 per kilogram.
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