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Dec 7, 2019 @ 15:20

Failed implementation of Rice Tariffication Law could lead to disaster for PH

Economists and rice sector leaders have pushed for mixed policy recommendations in light of the Rice Tarification Law (RTL), pressing for sustained implementation yet strong and “guaranteed” farmer support.

Otherwise, they said RTL may turn to be “disastrous” for the Philippines.

This has been raised during the “Regional Implications in the Philippines’ RTL” forum recently organized by the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA).

“The challenges we always face every cropping season relative to systemic barriers to farmers’ income were not addressed head on in the RTL,” said Cresencio C. Paez, director of Asian Farmers Association for Rural Sustainable Development.

“Safety nets for the protection of the farmers and consuming public were not taken into account concretely and strongly. A lot is said about promises,” he added.

The challenges waiting to be addressed, Paez said, amid the RTL’s implementation are “price volatility, land productivity, climate change’s effects, market power which involves cartel (traders hoarding rice) resulting in market abnormalities, governance, corruption, weak government agencies, and faulty extension delivery.”

“The RTL, if not well calibrated in its implementation, will be disastrous, and it is now happening this early,” said Paez.

Right now, SEARCA, in its mandate to help upgrade graduate education in agriculture in South East Asian countries, believes the vision toward a common ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) market is steering farms to form regional alliances.

Glenn B. Gregorio, SEARCA director, said government should have a system by which the “right price of the right rice” can be determined.

This has significant implication for both the farmers and consumers, Gregorio said.


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