DA seeking to tap tariffs to boost livestock competitiveness

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Emmanuel F. Piñol
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol -- PHILSTAR

AGRICULTURE Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said he may establish a separate fund for livestock growers, to emulate the proposed Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF).

Mr. Piñol on Tuesday told reporters that the livestock subsector does not “get enough support from the government.”

“It’s only now that livestock and dairy had an increase in funding. We have programs that, although they haven’t been implemented yet. There are funds for it,” though he added he would like the industry to be “more vibrant.”

The RCEF is a proposal under Rice Tariffication Act currently pending in Congress. Tariffs collected from rice imports are to finance measures to make the domestic rice industry more competitive.

When asked if the livestock fund clashes with the current Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund, Mr. Piñol said that the P5-billion ACEF does not represent the potential funding that can be collected from agricultural import tariffs.

“If we have a similar fund for livestock (funded by import tariffs) then the stakeholders can say that the tariffs go to them to improve their production,” he added.

Aside from livestock, similar funds could be set up for other crops such as corn.

Mr. Piñol is pressing for tariff-based funding after the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) budget was cut for 2019. — Anna Gabriela A. Mogato