Tarrification to “kill” PH rice industry, peasant group warns

Feb. 18, 2019

Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) lamented that local rice farmers will be the first to feel the brunt of the effects of massive rice importation.FILE PHOTO.

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Militant peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) deeply criticized the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte for signing the rice tarrification law, saying the measure will kill the rice industry in the country.

President Duterte signed the law on Friday last week.

KMP said the producers of rice, the farmers, farm workers, and their families will greatly suffer from the law as they rely on their day-to-day existence into rice farming.

The livelihood of rice farmers are now at stake with the approval of rice tarrification, the KMP said, adding that local rice farmers will be the first to bear the brunt of the effects of unregulated and massive rice importation.

“Duterte instigated the murder of the Philippine rice industry with his seal and approval of rice tarrification. As we have been saying for the past decades, rice tarrification and rice importation would devastate the rice industry and seriously imperil the food security of current and future generations,” said Antonio Flores, the secretary general of KMP.

The group also took note of the huge amount needed in the preparation, planting, and maintenance in rice farming with very meager support from the government.

“Farm inputs are too expensive but the National Food Authority (NFA) do not buy palay directly from the farmers. When imported rice starts to dump in the market, local rice farmers would be wiped out,” Flores added.

He also pointed out that tarrification will never be a guarantee to lower the prices of rice in the market.

“The policy of massive rice importation will only worsen the situation of the local rice industry and agriculture. It will kill the livelihood of 31 million rice farmers, farm workers in rice farms and their families. It will also burden millions of rice-eating Filipinos with higher prices in the long-run,” Flores said. (Mary Joy G. Alferez, HCDC intern/davaotoday.com)

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