Amended agri tariff law to have a P10B subsidy component for farmers
Senator Cynthia Villar, who serves as the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, is not convinced that the imposition of 35 percent tariff on imported rice is enough to protect local farmers from cheaper rice that were about to be bought in other countries.
Because of this, she wants the amended Agricultural Tariffication Act to have certain provisions like a P10-billion subsidy to be distributed to Filipino farmers.
The amended Agricultural Tariffication Act, which will impose 35 percent tariff on rice coming from member-countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) like Thailand and Vietnam, aims to replace the World Trade Organization-backed import quote on rice, popularly known as Quantitative Restriction (QR).
“I want to include certain provisions in the bill like for example, we have to give a budget worth P10 billion to rice farmers to help them mechanize and buy seeds to help bring their income up,” Villar said in a Manila Bulletin report.
“If our farmers are not competitive, even if we impose 35 percent tariff, their yield will still cost way more than Vietnam rice,” she added.
According to her, the subsidiy should be released annually or until the law already yielded tariff revenues that are ready for utilization.
These revenues will be injected to the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF).