Group hits World Bank for advocating rice importation in PH
Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA), a group of agricultural workers, has criticized the World Bank for supporting the move to import rice as the country ran out of cheaper government rice.
UMA said that instead of advocating self-sufficiency, World Bank pushed for importation as well as removal of import barriers to facilitate more agriculture goods coming from other countries.
“The World Bank is advocating rice importation, as against prospects of the country being rice self-sufficient. This includes removing import barriers to agricultural goods including rice and limiting the NFA [National Food Authority] to just concentrating on building up stocks to buffer emergencies,” UMA secretary-general John Milton Lozande said in a report.
Citing the WB policy paper “Philippines Mindanao Jobs Report: A Strategy for Mindanao Regional Development”, Lozande said the bank is also advocating removal of tariffs on other agricultural products such as corn, sugar, poultry, pork and flour.
“The WB justifies this by stating that this would ensure greater food security for the poor,” Lozande said, adding that the multilateral bank is even pushing the collection of irrigation service fees from farmers even if there is already a law on free irrigation in the country.
“Essentially what the WB is proposing is the total demolition of the Philippine agricultural industry in favor of importation, while at the same time promoting the expansion of plantation crops mainly for export under the control of local and multinational private entities,” Lozande said.