rice
Government data shows prices of palay (paddy rice) plunged 24.49% in the third quarter, as farmers were forced to sell their produce to traders at lower prices amid the presence of imported rice in the market.
The STAR/Michael Varcas, file
DOF: ‘No inclination to repeal, revise or suspend’ Rice Tariffication Law
Ian Nicolas Cigaral (Philstar.com) - November 13, 2019 - 3:03pm

MANILA, Philippines — Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said Wednesday the government will not scrap, amend nor stop the implementation of the Rice Tariffication Law despite outcry from some farmers’ groups amid falling prices of local rice in the market.

“There is no inclination to repeal, revise or suspend the Rice Tariffication Law. We are confident that this is the best means to move our agriculture forward and foster competitiveness,” Dominguez said in a speech during the 11th World Rice Conference in Makati City.

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.

But some groups said the influx of cheap rice from abroad has been hurting Filipino farmers. Government data shows prices of palay (paddy rice) plunged 24.49% in the third quarter, as farmers were forced to sell their produce to traders at lower prices amid the presence of imported rice in the market.

In the same speech Wednesday, Dominguez said the government is addressing the law’s “short-term transition challenges”.

“We are confident that these transition challenges are temporary. Nevertheless, the government is responding to them with decisiveness,” the finance chief said.

The US Department of Agriculture-Foreign Agricultural Service has reported that the Philippines is poised to dislodge China from the top and emerge as the world’s biggest rice importer.

RICE TARIFFICATION LAW
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