Rice tariffication to impoverish Filipino farmers more, Congress warned

Features Philippines Aug 24, 2018 at 2:49 pm

2018-0804_rice-farmer-1-848x478Research group IBON raised concern over the current move by the House of Representatives (HOR) to lift the quantitative restrictions (QR) on rice imports and instead apply a 35% tariff on unlimited rice importation. This will practically decrease farmgate prices, said IBON, but not necessarily lower retail rice prices as government claims.

Rice prices have increased for six straight months in 2018 – by Php2.53 from Php37.83 to Php40.36 for regular milled rice and by Php1.61 from Php42.58 to Php44.19 for well milled rice. Consequently, government called for additional importation ahead of the schedule for the minimum access volume (MAV), a commitment under the World Trade Organization (WTO), and for Congress to rush the rice tariffication bill to lower the price of rice and ensure support for farmers.

IBON however said that as it is, the prevailing farmgate price of Php21 does not provide sufficient income from the farmers’ average production cost of Php12 per kilo. Computing the average yield of 80 cavans of palay from one hectare, which is equivalent to 4,000 kilos, the rice farmer earns only Php36,000 until the next cropping. Each cropping commonly lasts for six months, which means that the farmer’s average monthly income of Php6,000 is 76% short of the estimated monthly family living wage (FLW) of Php25,454 for a family of five. If higher importation will decrease farmgate prices, then the already insufficient income of farmers will fall further, IBON said.

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