PNoy surpassing 2.1-M metric ton rice import of GMA in 2010 polls


    ANGELES CITY- The plan of the government to again import 500,000 metric tons of rice from Vietnam and Thailand would make recovery more difficult for Filipino farmers affected by Typhoon Luis and other recent natural disasters, the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) said yesterday.

    It noted that the Aquino administration is now surpassing the record 2.1 million metric ton importation of the Arroyo administration during the election period in 2010.

    “Instead of helping rice farmers recover from the onslaught of Typhoon Luis by actively buying locally-produced palay, extending production subsidy, giving a moratorium on land rent and land amortizations, and scrapping irrigation service fees, the Aquino government has resorted to rice importation that will further aggravate the dire situation of our rice farmers,” the KMP said.

    KMP noted that importation is slated at a time when local farmers are ready to harvest whatever rice crops have been spared from disasters. The group said that “in a government-to-government call for tenders held Monday, Thailand- through its Department of Foreign Trade—offered to supply the Philippines 300,000 tons at $475 a ton.

    Vietnam—through state-run Vietnam Southern Food Corp. or Vinafood II—offered to cover 400,000 tons but at a higher price of $479 per ton.” The KMP said that the government clinched deals with the foreign rice dealers.

    “It is the height of callousness of the Aquino government and the National Food Authority (NFA) to clinch a 500,000-metric-ton rice importation deal with Thailand and Vietnam while rice farmers of Northern Luzon are busy saving what is left by Typhoon Luis in their rice paddies,” said KMP Chairperson Rafael Mariano.

    Mariano said that “even the so-called buffer stocking line of the NFA is unacceptable, in fact, useless since we are already near the harvest season.” “We don’t see any justifiable reason for the country to import rice for the remaining months of the year except for brazen corruption, overpricing, and kickbacks by corrupt bureaucrats,” Mariano said.

    He lamented that “the bulk of the imported rice will enter the country at the height of harvest next month,” amid reports that “the NFA wants delivery to be made in three tranches— 40 percent of the contracted volume by mid-October, another 40 percent by mid-November and the remaining 20 percent by mid-December.”

    “This will surely pulldown the farmgate price of palay during harvest next month. The Aquino government did not extend a single centavo to help us cope from the typhoon and has instead approved the flooding of 500,000 metric tons of rice that will push us deeper in debt,” Mariano said.

    He said “Aquino’s rice importation policy is a man-made calamity that is killing rice farmers and local rice production.

    It chooses no season, whether its summer or rainy season, lean season or harvest season. Imported rice enters the country in their millions of metric tons courtesy of the landlord Aquino regime.” The KMP said that 500,000-metric-ton importation is part of the 1.2 million metric tons that the Aquino government announced last August.

    “Aside from the 1.2 million metric tons another 500,000 metric tons will be imported by the government allegedly to replenish its buffer stock or a total of 1.7 million metric tons.

    If we include this 1.7 million to the corruption riddled importation of 800,000 metric tons during the first quarter of 2014 and the 350,000 metric tons under the minimum access volume of the World Trade Organization, the Aquino government will have a total of 2.850-million metric- ton rice importation for 2014,” KMP noted.

    It said “this is a record- high annual rice importation. Aquino already surpassed Arroyo’s 2.1 million metric- ton importation in 2010.”


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