CITY OF SAN FERNANDO – The Aquino government’s pending importation of 500,000 metric tons of rice starting this October has been decried as a “man-made calamity” that will seal the total displacement of farmers already affected by the recent Glenda, Luis and Mario weather disturbances.
The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) lamented this in a statement yesterday amid reports that Luis and Mario wrought some P1.14 billion in agricultural damages. “For every hectare of farmland damaged by the typhoon are farmers and their families buried deeper in debt.
This is the sad reality behind the figures on damages to crops and agriculture,” said KMP Chairperson Rafael Mariano. Mariano noted that “the DA only compute the damages to crops but not the effects on farmers.”
“In the face of all these, the Aquino government is doing nothing to address their plight,” he said. Mariano noted reports that rice farms suffered the worst with some 53,800 tons of palay worth P934 million lost. Also ravaged were P150.6-million worth of corn, equivalent to almost 11,566 tons of harvest, he also reported.
Mariano said that instead of helping the farmers, the government is poised to worsen their plight with the pending importation of 500,000 metric tons of rice from Thailand and Vietnam. “These imports will enter the country beginning October and will surely pull-down the farmgate prices of palay to be harvested next month,” he lamented.
“Filipino farmers solely shoulder the high costs of production of rice that will be harvested next month. Now, they expect to sink deeper in indebtedness,” he added. Mariano described the rice importation as “a man-made calamity that will kill rice farmers and local rice production.”
This, as the KMP reiterated its demand for the government to “actively engage in the buying of locally-produced palay, extending production subsidy, a moratorium on land rent and land amortizations, and the scrapping of irrigation service fees, among others forms of assistance to local farmers.”