Palace: No Duterte order to stop rice importation

19-Nov-2019 Intellasia | PhilStar | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Malacanang on Monday said there is no order from President Rodrigo Duterte to suspend the importation of rice.

The Palace issued the statement after GMA News reported that Duterte wanted to halt the purchase of the staple grain from abroad and that the government should start buying rice from Filipino farmers to help them amid falling prices of palay (paddy rice). “As of this time there is no order to stop rice importation given to Secretary (William) Dar of the Department of Agriculture per the latter,” presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a statement.

Last February, Duterte signed the Rice Tarrification Law which lifted the more than two-decade-old cap 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 plunged 24.49 percent 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.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III also on Monday reportedly said the government will not suspend the Rice Tariffication Law. He said the Cabinet recently agreed to give farmers unconditional cash transfers to ease their woes.

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.


Category: Philippines

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