THE Provincial Farmers’ Action Council (PFAC) of Bulacan said that the reduced role of the National Food Authority (NFA) when rice tariffication is implemented is detrimental to small farmers and will favor big business.
“Rice farmers and some of their cooperatives’ investments in grain processing and trading facilities… and thousands of rice millers… will be affected once local rice production continuously declines due to competition with imported rice,” the PFAC said in a statement on Thursday.
The PFAC said Malaysia and Indonesia implemented rice tariffication but did not remove the government’s role in ensuring supply and subsidizing consumers and farmers.
The group also said that farmers will not benefit from rice tariffication because the bill focuses on funding mechanization, credit, seed production and training whereas farmers need fertilizer, pesticides and hybrid seed.
“Rice farmers need farm inputs such as fertilizers, pesticides, certified/hybrid seeds to (achieve) a modest harvest,” the PFAC said.
“The proposed bill does not address our basic rice production requirements since it focuses on other priorities such as mechanization, seed production, credit, training and extension. Obviously, it shows that rice farmers were not consulted in this regard,” the PFAC added. — Reicelene Joy N. Ignacio