DA to impose general safeguards duty on rice imports
Agriculture secretary William D. Dar assured small farmers that their interest will be protected this coming harvest season, as the Department of Agriculture (DA) looks into imposing a general safeguards duty on rice imports.
“We will protect our small farmers by not allowing additional imports especially this main harvest season. We want them to benefit from the respectable farmgate prices of palay set by the government through the National Food Authority (NFA),” Dar said.
With the next harvest season fast approaching, the DA have started the investigation process towards the imposition of a general safeguards duty on rice imports to manage its entry to the country. This is one of the measures that the DA is banking on to stabilize the supply and price of rice.
“We have started investigations and we expect to complete them by end of September or early October,” Agriculture Secretary William Dar said.
Currently, the Philippines could only produce 93 percent of its total national rice requirements, the remaining 7 percent is imported.
“We have to holistically and systematically protect the consuming public and much more, our small farmers,” Dar said.
“So, I have taken the necessary steps and the direction where we will enforce legal measures during these times when we have greatly exceeded the volume needed to fill up the slack in national rice supply, most particularly in Metro Manila and major urban rice consumption centers,” he added.
The measure is in line with Republic Act 8752 (Anti-Dumping Act of 1999), where government can impose anti-dumping duties on imports of any product, including rice and other basic food items, that are priced way below the current fair market value.
Another option is to impose stringent sanitary and pytho-sanitary (SPS) and inspection measures of rice imports.
Dar said that to date 2.4 million metric tons of rice has been imported, which has gone beyond what is needed by the country.