Malacañang yesterday, through Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, assured rice farmers in the province the national government is undertaking measures to cushion the impact on them of the present liberalized rice import policy.
Speaking to reporters at the Palawan State University, Nograles described as “birth pains” the current low buying prices being experienced by farmers as a result of cheap imported rice.
He pointed out that the rice liberalization program has had a major role in bringing down inflation in the country.
“To address poverty in the country ay isa sa ginawa ay pababain ang presyo ng mga bilihin. Pumasok ang rice tariffication law na medyo nagiging successful naman, kasi ang inflation ay bumaba,” Nograles said.
“May birth pain na nararamdaman ng mga magsasaka kaya pasok na naman ang gobyerno para solusyunan. We are aware of it at madalas din itong pag-usapan,” Nograles said.
In Palawan, farmers are currently selling their unhusked rice for P7 to P11 per kilo.
Nograles said that to address the problem, the national government has come up with different interventions intended to mitigate the problems of the rice sector.
He said that the House Committee on Agriculture and Food has approved a substitute joint resolution urging Congress to authorize the use of rice subsidy as provided for in the 2019 General Appropriations Act (GAA) to purchase palay (unhusked rice) from farmers.
Nograles also cited the Expanded Partnership against Hunger and Poverty, a program that will help the Philippines achieve its zero-hunger target which was recently approved by President Rodrigo Duterte.
“Kapag naapprove ng Congress ang resolution allowing NFA to purchase rice at P19 per kilo ay malaking tulong ‘yon,” he said.
Ito ang ilan sa mga ginagawa ng gobyerno para hindi na tayo dadaan sa middle man dahil gobyerno na mismo ang bibili sa magsasaka,” he said