DA mulls using excess rice import tariff for crop diversification, insurance

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    The Department of Agriculture (DA) is planning to use the excess P2.1 billion from last year’s P12.1- billion rice tariff collections for crop diversification and expanded crop insurance programs.

    “We have been encouraging rice farmers, particularly those tilling rain-fed and marginal lands to plant other crops that would generate bigger income and more importantly, instil in them the need to insure their crops,” said Agriculture Secretary William Dar.

    The Rice Tariffication Law provides that of the total tariff collected annually, P10 billion is automatically appropriated for the provision of farm machinery and equipment (P5 billion), certified inbred seeds (P3 billion), credit (P1 billion) as well as for training and extension services (P1 billion) while the excess will fund other initiatives to make rice farmers more productive and competitive.

    Dar said for last year’s extra P2.1 billion collection, the DA is requesting the Department of Budget and Management to allot P1 billion for the crop diversification program and P1.1 billion for the expanded crop insurance on rice, which will be implemented by the DA’s high-value crops development program and the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp., respectively.

    Ahead of the official release on August 5 of agriculture data, the DA said palay production improved 6.85 percent to 4.12 million metric tons (MMT) in the second quarter of the year from 2019’s 3.85 MMT.