70% tariff on rice pushed

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    The Philippine Chamber of Agriculture & Food Inc. (PCAFI) is pushing for a 70-percent tariff on rice to discourage the entry of entry of imports and help local farmers.
    This is double the 35 percent prevailing tariff.

    PCAFI said the Rice Tariffication Law’s (RTL) provision on safeguards should be invoked as a temporary relief to farmers

    “We’re not asking for a repeal of the law or an amendment of the law and if the law says, section 10 of Republic Act there are safeguards, let’s implement it,” said Danilo Fausto,

    PCAFI president, in a statement.

    PCAFI said imported rice is currently being traded at around P17 per kilo and with trader’s overhead, increases up to P20 per kilo and finally to P27 or P28 per kilo in the retail market with logistics costs.

    DA Secretary William Dar expects the ongoing general safeguard investigation should have initial results by the middle of the month.

    Dar said DA will enforce legal measures to at least double the current tariff of 35 percent when there is surplus in the national rice supply.

    The DA has the option to impose the provisional duty for a maximum of 200 days.

    Meanwhile, the Tariff Commission will conduct its own investigation within 60 to 120 days to determine whether the provisional duty should be retained, amended or removed.

    Meanwhile, the DA has signed a memorandum of agreement worth P432.78 million with five seed growers’ associations and cooperatives in the country to ensure the supply of high-quality inbred rice seeds under the seed program of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF).

    These seed growers’ associations and cooperatives are Pangasinan Organic Seed Growers and Nursery Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Isabela Seed Growers Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Nueva Ecija Seed Grower Multi-Purpose Cooperative, South Nueva Ecija Seed Growers Multi-Purpose Cooperative, and West Visayas Federation of Multi-Purpose and Seed Producers Cooperative.

    The cooperatives are accredited by the Bureau of Plant Industry’s National Seed Quality Control Services and are considered as top seed growers in the country that make up 25 percent of the total requirement to supply the two million bags of high-quality inbred rice seeds under the RCEF Seed Program.

    “They have outstanding track records and have been in the business for a long time. None of them are newly-registered, meaning we have known them for a long time and they continue to step up their game to produce high-quality seeds that will help farmers to be productive,” said Dar.

    The seeds will be distributed among 57 provinces with high potential for competitiveness based on the size of area harvested, yield level, cost of production and share of irrigated area.

    Also, the municipalities and cities must have an annual area of more than 500 hectares for the dry season 2019-2020.

    The DA said the agreement already accounts for almost a quarter of the P2-billion fund released for the RCEF Seed Program.