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Oct 23, 2016 @ 9:32

Govt must invest in agri as QRs failed to curb imports and protect farmers

Government must hike agricultural spending as quantitative restrictions on the importation of rice failed to protect farmers or curb rice imports in the past 10 years.

The Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura said actual rice imports have exceeded the so-called minimum access volume, or the volume of rice allowed into the country at lower tariffs.

SINAG chair Rosendo So said: “The QRs have given us, at best, a fabricated sense of protection from the government for the past 20 years…the imposition or non-imposition of QRs are temporary relief; what we need ultimately is a comprehensive government program that would significantly increase public spending in the rice sector.”

The national government’s spending on agriculture next year, however, will fall to P46.7 billion from almost P50 billion this year based on data from the Department of Budget and Management.

So said the country needs to produce enough rice for its population to protect itself from price surges because the global rice trade is relatively thin compared to other staples.

SINAG estimates that less than 10 percent of rice produced are traded in the global market.

In 2008, global rice prices more than doubled after some exporters imposed an export ban that resulted in panic buying among importing countries such as the Philippines.

“Promoting rice self-sufficiency and a significant increase in public spending is the only option viable of the local rice industry given the relatively thin global rice market and the onset of extreme weather situations as the new norm,” So said.


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