Amendments to rice tariff law pushed
MANILA -The Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food Inc. (Pcafi) is proposing the amendment of the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL) and the expansion of the National Food Authority’s (NFA) functions to beef up local production and keep food prices in check.
Pcafi president Danilo Fausto said rationalizing the distribution of funds under Republic Act No. 11203, which liberalized rice trading, will provide more flexibility in providing the appropriate intervention to bolster palay production and improve the livelihood of farmers.
Noting the low fund utilization, Fausto said the government should provide incentives to entice local entities to venture into manufacturing farm machineries and equipment that are currently mostly sourced from China.
Fausto said the RCEF can be modified to incentivize local production of farm machinery and equipment.
“There should be a local manufacturer that will import farm machines and then replicate it through reverse engineering,” he said.
The RTL, which was enacted in 2019, liberalizes the importation, exportation and trading of rice and lifts the quantitative import restriction on rice. This will lapse in 2024.
The law created the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF), wherein rice tariff collections in excess of P10 billion would be used to give financial assistance to farmers, titling agricultural lands, expanding crop insurance coverage and promoting crop diversification.
Broken down, P5 billion is earmarked for the distribution of farm machines, P3 billion for high-yielding seeds, and P1 billion each for capacitating farmers and credit support.