Published Oct 11, 2018

Last October 9, 2018 President Duterte ordered to put an end to restrictions on rice imports. The President approved the “unimpeded” importation of rice into the country during the 30th Cabinet meeting, supposedly as a measure to ease the soaring inflation which has been rising for months.

We, from the National Movement for Food Sovereignty (NMFS) express our deep concern on the President’s sudden proclamation allowing free importation of rice despite the fact that the bill allowing the tariffication of rice is still pending in the Senate.

The President’s recent directive spells doom for more than 3 million rice farmers who stand to lose in an era of “unimpeded” rice importation, where big companies such as San Miguel Corporation, and rice cartels are the ones to profit from mega rice import transactions. Higher production costs due to TRAIN and the rising fuel costs have already eroded whatever meager earnings rice farmers have.

In 2017, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported net returns from palay farming at only PhP 25, 193 and PhP 21,743 during the dry and wet season respectively or a total of P 46,936.00 annually. PIDS projections on the impact of rice tariffication reveals a 29% reduction in income for every P4/kg decrease in famgate price of palay, which means annual rice income will decline to PhP33,325.00 or from PhP 3,911/month to P2,777/ month equivalent to an income loss of P13,611/year.

The proposed scheme for cash transfer /decoupled payment to farmers in the event of tariffication of P9,500/hectare will not even compensate for this loss.