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Jan 8, 2018 @ 20:50

NEDA drums up support for more rice imports


Rice harvested from 39 provinces will still be cheaper despite the entry of additional supply produced abroad.

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said locally-produced rice would still have an edge should the Philippines lift quantitative restrictions (QR) which essentially limit the entry of cheap rice from abroad, to be replaced by a 35 percent tariff on all imports of the crop.

The QR essentially wants to protect local farmers so that they will remain the producers of choice by Filipinos compared to cheaper rice sourced from Thailand and Vietnam.

“Rice per kilogram in these areas will be P4 cheaper compared with Thai and Vietnamese rice. And these provinces can produce about 73 percent of the total food requirement of the country,” NEDA Secretary Ernesto Pernia said in the statement.

These provinces are Nueva Ecija, Kalinga, Pampanga, Bataan, Biliran, Bulacan, Zamboanga del Sur, Isabela, Bukidnon, Nueva Vizcaya, Laguna, Pangasinan, Lanao del Norte, Aurora, Compostela Valley, Albay, Leyte, Zamboanga Sibugay, and Negros Occidental.

Also part of the list are South Cotabato, Camarines Sur, Zamboanga City, Sultan Kudarat, Sorsogon, Cavite, Palawan, Antique, Iloilo, Aklan, Surigao del Sur, Capiz, Masbate, Catanduanes, Eastern Samar, Northern Samar, Basilan, Western Samar, Guimaras, and Maguindanao.

“Producing rice at lower costs, these provinces can still further increase their yield levels by using certified inbred and hybrid seeds, proper management of input application and sufficient irrigation,” NEDA added.

While economic managers are all for lifting the QR, other groups have been lobbying to keep the import limits amid fears that this will kill the local rice industry.

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