Farmers denounce plan to reduce tariffs on imported rice to 20%

This article is available in Pilipino

The Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women and Bantay Rice condemned the Department of Finance for its proposal to lower the tariff on imported rice to 20% from the current 35%. The department’s pretext is that it will lower the price of rice in the country. Tariffs has been lowered from 40-50% since 2021. However, rice prices has not decreased, but has instead increased over the past three years.

This is not the first time the state has proposed to lower tariffs for imported rice. In 2023, the then DoF secretary, Benjamin Diokno, also pushed for the tariff to be lowered until completely abolished, which farmers strongly opposed.

“This does not strengthen local production but only worsens the dumping of imported rice and is never the answer to affordable rice prices,” Cathy Estavillo of Bantay Rice said. It only favors the importers, hoarders, and smugglers who amass profits from unbridled foreign rice importation.

“The plan to lower the tariff should be exposed and condemned until it is withdrawn,” she said. Imports have been hurting the country’s agricultural sector for decades. Rice Liberalization Law and EO 35 and EO 50 did not lower the price of rice, she said.

Estavillo added, the government needs to address the allocation of large funds or subsidies to the NFA to sustain the sale of subsidized rice prices. At the same time, farmers should be given subsidies and post-harvest facilities to ensure production. Above all, stop land use conversion and land grabbing that results to the reduction or loss of rice fields in the country.

AB: Farmers denounce plan to reduce tariffs on imported rice to 20%