Farmers want to stop liberalization of agri sector
Farmers are still appealing to the government to stop the liberalization of the agriculture sector as they still still suffer from low prices due to the influx of imported goods, especially rice.
“In the immediate, the farmers are demanding for compensation for the loss in incomes for the past 2 to 3 cropping seasons. For government to act fast and find ways to prop up the farmgate prices of palay such as providing subsidies to small farmers to lessen the cost of production,” Rice Watch Action Network, Inc. (RWAN) said.
“Farmers are about to harvest their dry season crop and yet no concrete plans have been released by the Department of Agriculture to arrest the expected drop in incomes come March and April. The successive losses are already impacting on farmers capacities to sustain their livelihoods. This puts our country’s food security at risk and may force farmers to totally abandon rice farming at a time when serious environmental and climatic threats can easily affect global food production,” the group added.
Last year, around 200 farmers, farmworkers and advocates marched to DA from the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) to protest the furthering and deepening negative impacts of the rice liberalization law, or better known as the Rice Tariffication Law (R.A. 11203) to various marginalized sectors – women farmers, the elderly, youth and indigenous peoples.
“The RTL/RLL was a clear death sentence to farmers, while at the same time did not fulfill its promise of lowering the retail price of rice for consumers,” RWAN said.