Ramon Ang mulls rice importation
Ramon S. Ang, the president of San Miguel Corporation (SMC), is now one of the people hoping for the government to pass the law that will liberalize rice importation.
This, as he wants to be able to import rice and sell it at cheaper price at the local market.
A column in Manila Standard, written by journalist Tony Lopez, said this is all part of Ang’s “grander plans to solve the country’s severe food shortage”.
“Once the government decrees tariff free importation of rice, San Miguel plans to import rice in bulk (not in bags) using its fleet of bulk carriers and its network of grain ports nationwide. The rice will be stored in silos using an air and moisture technology so that the rice you eat on your tables will be free of bukbok and lingering pesticides, and best of all, fresh, ensuring that San Miguel imported rice is yummy and delicious,” Lopez said.
“The company will sell the rice at nominal cost. This will put rice cartels out of business and bring down the price of rice immediately. The country needs to import at least two million tons of rice a year,” he added.
Ang, as cited by Lopez, also wants to contract hundreds of thousands of farmers to grow rice, with SMC as the provider of varieties, feeds, farm technology, supervision, warehousing, and guaranteed market.
“If the price of rice say is P20 in other places, San Miguel will pay double, or P40, vows RSA. He thinks that with SanMig’s price guarantee (of profit), so many farmers will be enticed to go rice farming,” Lopez said.
“Rice is a dying industry. The average age of the rice farmer is 57. None of his children want to inherit the job. They would rather flock to the city, get a degree, join a BPO, become a seaman, a Saudi construction worker, or a hotel worker. Ang’s idea will make entrepreneurs of every rice farmer. This is a classic proof of the rice is in the eating scenario and the government should take up Ang’s offer. It will disrupt and stabilize the rice business and guarantee ample supply of this staple food at reasonable prices,” he further said.