Provincial board members are seeking a total ban on the importation of rice to the province as a measure to protect local farmers.

During the provincial board’s regular session Tuesday, June 15, Board Member Ryan Maminta noted that while an existing ordinance is in place which regulates rice importation, there is a need to impose a total ban.

He said imported rice flooding the local market will lower palay prices and discourage traders from selling their products. The increased competition may also be viewed by local producers as a reason for their products to depreciate.

“It’s a declaration with specific time which is from planting to the closing of harvest season. What was before is the restriction of going out of our produce and some limitations of those which are coming in. This time it would be very specific,” Maminta told Palawan News on Thursday, June 17.

He added that statistical data provided by the Office of the Provincial Agriculture (OPA) proves that rice supply is sufficient and there are even times with surplus with rice inventories at comfortable levels and steady prices.

Date from OPA indicates that there are 23, 489 farmers in the entire province who have already planted rice expecting to harvest their produce around September to October.

“Sapagkat, sa ating karanasan at sa mga nakalap nating impormasyon, kapag ang merkado dito sa atin ay marami at napuno ng imported rice ay tiyak na may malaking epektong negatibo sa buying price ng palay sa ating mga magsasaka sa panahon ng pagtatanim at pag-aani. Mababa ang nagiging bilihan. Tiyak na talo ang mga magsasaka natin.” Maminta said.

It is also widely known that during peak harvest season, farm gate prices of palay in the province of Palawan almost always drops to P10.00 to P8 per kilo, way below the production cost which currently stands at P13 and that of P19 official buying prices of the National Food Authority (NFA).

NFA also lacks funds to buy huge portion of farmers’ yield, hence, majority if not all of the farmers resort to traders to sell their harvest at price way below NFA price and lower than production cost.

“Ang polisiya ay ninanais natin na umiral dito sa ating Lalawigan upang makatulong sa pagbalanse ng presyo ng palay na nais natin ay mas mataas ang bilihan at hindi mababa sa production cost na nasa P13.00 sa buong Lalawigan. Isa lamang ito sa mga polisiya na dapat pairalin ngunit dapat ang magawa talaga natin ay paano magkaroon ng pagbaba ng production cost ng palay at bigas,” Maminta said.

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is the chief of correspondents of Palawan News. She covers defense, politics, tourism, health, and sports stories. She loves to travel and explore different foods.