Villar bats for 35% tariff on rice to protect farmers
The Senate is mulling the imposition of 35-percent tariff to imported rice to level the playing field between local and foreign farmers at P8 per kilo production cost, a senator said here on Tuesday.
Sen. Cynthia Villar, chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, said the equal footing in the scheme can, at the moment, is possible with rice imported from Vietnam and rice produced in Nueva Ecija.
Villar, who met with farmers from various parts of the country at the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) in Barangay Maligaya during the agency’s Lakbay Palay, cited a report from the Nueva Ecija’s agriculture office that rice was produced at P8 a kilo in the province.
This is way below the national average cost of P12 a kilo, she said.
Villar said Vietnam currently produces rice at P6 a kilo which would increase to P8 when imposed with 35-percent tariff which was the maximum allowable tariff in Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Provincial Agriculture Office reported that Nueva Ecija produces an average of 5.8 metric tons per hectare or P8 a kilo production cost.
“If you put 35-percent tariff on P6, it will be P8, so they can compete? But in the whole Philippines, the average yield is 4.1 metric tons per hectare and the cost is P12 a kilo, thus there is a problem,” Villar explained.