Rice Tarrification Law
LP lawmakers filed joint resolution 15 authorizing the use of RCEF, as well as unprogrammed funds in the 2019 budget and collected tariffs from rice imports as stipend to local farmers.
AFP
LP lawmakers want funds for cash transfers to rice farmers
(Philstar.com) - September 11, 2019 - 7:26pm

MANILA, Philippines — Members of the Liberal Party in the House of Representatives want the Rice Competitive Enhancement Fund, or RCEF, to be used as direct cash transfers to rice farmers reeling from falling palay prices amid the influx of cheap rice imports.

LP lawmakers filed joint resolution 15 authorizing the use of RCEF as well as unprogrammed funds in the 2019 budget and collected tariffs from rice imports as financial aid to local farmers.

“The large drop of farm-gate price of palay has resulted in huge income losses for rice farmers and the industry, which is now estimated to be around P60 billion,” the resolution read in part.

Rice is a Filipino main staple and pivotal political commodity in the Philippines. It is a heavy item in the basket of goods and services used to compute inflation and accounts for about 20% of the consumption of low-income households.

Last February, President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Rice Tarrification Law which lifted the more than two-decade-old caps on rice imports in a bid to bring down prices of the staple grain.

Under the law, individuals and businesses can import additional volumes of the crop from Southeast Asian countries like Thailand and Vietnam but will have to pay tariffs.

The proceeds will be used to fund mass irrigation, warehousing and rice research to help local farmers compete.

Leaders of farmers’ organizations and the agriculture sector complained that palay prices have been falling and are now at the P8 to P10 per kilo level, or P2 to P4 less than their production cost of P12 per kilo.

Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority show average prices of dry palay hover around P16 to P18 per kilo. But farmers’ groups disputed this data, saying the PSA’s tally does not reflect the situation of local farmers on the ground. — Ian Nicolas Cigaral

RICE TARIFFICATION LAW
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