(Farmers and farmer leaders of the City of San Fernando pose with some personnel of the City Agriculture and Veterinary Office, National Food Authority, and Department of Agriculture as they grace a symposium on the Philippines’ Rice Tariffication Law on May 15, 2019 at Heroes Hall. Contributed Photo)
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO— Fernandino farmers and farmer leaders graced a symposium on the Philippines’ Rice Tariffication Law on May 15, 2019 at Heroes Hall.
The program was part of the Farmers’ Week celebration of the City Government of San Fernando. Resource speakers from the National Food Authority (NFA) Pampanga Provincial Office and Department of Agriculture-Regional Field Office 3 led the discussion on the said enactment.
As the benefits of this law to farmers are still unclear, City Agriculturist Cristina Sangumay said the symposium aimed to enlighten the farmers about the measures that NFA and DA are doing to help the farmers.
“Dapat naiintindihan ninyo yung ‘gray area’ ng rice tariffication law para malaman ninyo kung paano i-treat ang batas at kung paano i-adjust yung farming ninyo. Nagka-intervention ang national government para magkaroon ng option ang mga farmers para hindi maipit sa batas na ito,” said Sangumay to the farmers.
Formally known as Republic Act 11203 or “An Act Liberalizing the Importation, Exportation, and Trading of Rice, Lifting for the Purpose the Quantitative Import Restriction on Rice and for other Purposes,” this law aims to imply tariff s to rice importers for a certain rate, instead of giving restrictions to them, which will result to a higher number of rice importers to the country.
This law is believed to give good benefits to consumers through affordable prices of rice coming from other countries, but will bring negative effects to farmers in terms of their income.
As a response, Arturo Saulog and Roberto Mariano, Jr., both Warehouse Supervisors of the NFA Pampanga, imparted insights on their “palay procurement program,” wherein local farmers and farmer organizations are able to sell rice grains to the agency, with minimum requirements to pass.
This action is one of the agency’s ways to support the produce of the Fernandino farmers.
Edwin Paningbatan, DA RFO 3 Planning, Monitoring, and Evaluation Chief, meanwhile shared a brief background on the rice tariffication law and its features, including the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund, which will create different programs for the farmers and their income.
Paningbatan explained that this fund includes the provision of rice farm machineries, rice seed development, propagation, and promotion, expanded rice credit assistance, and rice extension services, which will be implemented by various agencies.
He also discussed other proposed regular rice programs/ projects of the agency, including the provision of seeds, trainings, irrigation, and agricultural machineries and equipment. This activity is also part of the Pyestang Fernandino 2019 celebration.