Let us rally behind our rice farmers

With Republic Act (RA) 11203, or the “Rice Tariffication Law,” liberalizing rice importation, now’s the time to rally at the back of our smallholder farmers to make our rice enterprise competitive vis-à-vis our Southeast Asian counterparts. I am strongly high quality and enthusiastic about this opportunity.

After careful have a look at and analysis, I see RA 11203 as a blessing to the country’s rice enterprise, as it will also pressure the forms to rethink its approach toward the industry, and installed place policies, programs and tasks to sincerely make rice farming in the Philippines certainly efficient and competitive.

WATCH: William Dar leads the launching of Rice Farmer Financial Assistance (RFFA) software

RA 11203 additionally offers us a good variety of protection nets, just like the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) that allocates P10 billion consistent with year for the subsequent six years for farm mechanization, propagation and distribution of high-yielding seeds, education of farmers and credit guide. With correct governance, the packages and initiatives to be funded via RCEF could make the u . S .’s rice industry as productive and aggressive as its Southeast Asian counterparts.

Another safety net is the tariffication of imports, 35 percentage from Association of Southeast Asian (Asean) nations and 50 percent from non-Asean nations.

Also, RA 11203 offers strength to President Rodrigo Duterte to boom the tariffs on imported rice to guard the nearby rice industry and save you abusive rice investors from controlling the nearby price of the commodity. This, I agree with, is one of the quality safety mechanisms supplied by way of RA 11203 for smallholder rice farmers.

The National Food Authority (NFA) can also be allowed to hold buying dried palay (unmilled rice) from nearby farmers, albeit on a restrained scale, and preserve a buffer stock of 30 days.

Maintain ninety five-percentage or higher sufficiency

Obviously, the pursuit of rice self-sufficiency within the beyond decades might be faulted for the high production price of palay with the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) pegging the common price of manufacturing a kilo of palay in the united states at P12.72, or a lot higher than Thailand’s P8.86 and Vietnam’s P6.22. Vietnam and Thailand are also main rice exporters and feature proven a eager hobby in delivery the commodity to the Philippines.

I categorically agree that rice imports will help decrease and stabilize the prices of the commodity in the nearby market, for this reason contributing to decrease inflation.

Presently, most effective five percentage of the sector’s rice manufacturing, which is about 40 million metric lots (MT), is traded across the world and many nations are dealing with challenges from climate trade, affecting their farming and fisheries quarter. But international locations currently importing rice, like those in Africa, are likewise commencing up lands for rice production and other countries in Asia are putting in region productiveness enhancing measures.

So what’s the manner forward?

While I were advocating that greater farmers shift to planting excessive-value plants which have export potential in raw, semi-processed or processed shape, I see the urgent want for the usa to keep at the least a 95-percent rice self-sufficiency degree or even higher.

The country’s rice self-sufficiency degree currently is among ninety three to 95 percent, and we ought to level that as much as ninety five to 97 percent.

While it’s miles viable to acquire 100 percent rice self-sufficiency, I accept as true with funds are better allotted to farmers of the crop who have the potential to become as aggressive as their opposite numbers in Southeast Asia. So, the truth is there are farmers making up the minority who might not become aggressive despite the fact that we provide them so much assistance to improve their productiveness, because their lands are quality planted to cash plants which have export capacity.

The Philippine Rice Industry Roadmap (PRIR) 2030 of PhilRice is in reality very honest in its assessment of farmers who can’t cope with cheaper rice imports, or the ones whose manufacturing value is nearing P17 according to kilo, announcing these farmers “are prone to incurring losses and can discontinue producing rice inside the destiny.”

The PRIR also stated that of the eighty rice-generating provinces in the Philippines, 30 have production charges decrease than P12 in keeping with kilo and feature yields averaging 3 to four MT (MT/ha). Furthermore, any other 26 provinces had been classified by means of the PRIP as recording “medium fee” or generating palay from P12 to P17 per kilo, with the yields additionally from 3 to 4 MT/ha.

So, the price range allocated for RCEF wishes to be spent very wisely and judiciously. As stipulated, the P10-billion annual allocation for RCEF generated from rice import price lists be spent as follows: P5 billion for presenting farm
machines and device; P3 billion for propagating and distribution of high-yielding seeds; P1 billion for education of rice farmers; and P1 billion for loan guide.

I believe there’s hope, even super hope, that via the protection nets provided by way of RA 11203, the Philippine rice industry may be levelled up.

For one, PhilRice already has seed sorts capable of yielding beyond the national average of 4 MT/ha. But the organisation ought to also bear in mind hybrids which might be greater superior to inbreds and able to yielding up to 8 MT/ha.

On the opposite hand, the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization stated that via addressing problems related to crop status quo and put up-harvest losses, the price of producing palay can be lowered via P1.50 to P2 in line with kilo.

Also, the pointers for RA 11203 requires steady tracking on how RCEF is being spent.

So, allow us to rally in the back of our smallholder rice farmers through fully helping RA 11203.

But there are other measures that need to be addressed to make our rice enterprise more efficient and competitive, like making an investment in irrigation and balance nutrient management. More of those inside the second installment of this column-series.

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