Discontinue importation, strengthen local rice production – KMP

Filipino farmers urged the administration to discontinue “costly” importation and strengthen the country’s local rice production.

(Manila Bulletin File Photo)

Peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) said the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) plans to import more rice to “buffer the stock” affected by the recent onslaught of tropical cyclone Karding will only bring harm to the Philippine economy.

“Importing more volume of rice at this period of the Philippine peso’s free fall would be detrimental to the economy. Discontinue importation,” said KMP Chairperson Rafael Mariano in a press statement on Wednesday, Sept. 28.

Instead of focusing on importation, Mariano said the national government should boost the local rice production by providing much-needed subsidies to cyclone-affected farmers. The group likewise urged the Marcos administration to allocate higher funding for the National Food Authority’s (NFA) palay procurement fund.

However, according to Mariano, boosting the fund for NFA’s palay procurement will only be beneficial if the government will also strengthen the local rice production.

“The demand to increase the NFA budget for local palay procurement is just and very doable if only the government and the economic managers will choose to boost support for the local rice industry instead of the default solution of importing rice,” he added.

The call to veer away from importation reflects Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas’ (Pamalakaya) call to put an end to the country’s “over-dependence” on imports.

Both of these groups long for one thing: Government support for the livelihoods of small fishers and farmers.

Credit belongs to : www.mb.com.ph

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