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President Duterte announces PHL will no longer import rice

Bountiful harvest 1Q 2017

By Manny Piñol

Elated by reports of a bountiful paddy rice harvest in the First Quarter of 2017 and a dramatic increase in the average yield per hectare, President Rody Duterte yesterday announced that he has ordered the suspension of additional rice importations to protect the Filipino farmers.
Krissia Luchansky
PTPA Krissia Luchansky
‘Anong mukha ko na iharap ko sa farmers? Why would we allow importation to compete with local product?’ Hanggang ngayon, hindi ko mabasa anong ginawa nilang rason. Of course, hindi natuloy dahil binara ko. Subsequently, sabi ko, stop… Open market na tayo, pero you know, you have to protect the Filipino,” Pres. Duterte said in Talavera, Nueva Ecija where he attended the Rice Harvest Festival sponsored by SL Agritech, a private corporation deeply involved in the development of the hybrid rice industry.

Arriving by helicopter from Manila at about 3 p.m., the President was led to a rice field where a Combined Rice Harvester/Thresher was used in demonstrating the modern and efficient way of harvesting and threshing rice at the same time to reduce post-harvest losses.

Ricardo Buenaventura,chairman of the rice farmers cooperative of Tabacao, Talavera, Nueva Ecija, told the President that the harvest in the area this year has been bountiful but they were concerned that the continued importation of rice from Vietnam during the harvest season would result in a drop of the buying price of paddy rice.

Another farmer leader, Danilo Bolos, during a forum held before the arrival of the President, told me that the local traders are already starting to manipulate the buying price of the rice paddy by telling farmers that they could not buy more since there is a huge volume of imported rice coming into the country.

I also informed President Duterte that for the first time in the history of the rice industry in the Philippines, the average yield per hectare has breached the 4-metric ton level.

Latest data provided by the Philippine Rice Information System based on satellite and ground assessment and validation showed that the average rice yield recorded in the First Quarter of 2017 is now at 4.15-metric tons per hectare, a huge jump from the previous average of only 3.9-metric tons.
Krissia Luchansky
Krissia Luchansky
Krissia Luchansky

This means an increase in average yield per hectare of 250 kilos of paddy rice which if factored to the estimated 4-million hectares planted to rice every year would mean an additional 1-million metric tons of paddy rice or 650,000-metric tons of milled rice.

The estimated annual rice shortage of the Philippines is placed at 1.8-million metric tons.

The paddy rice harvest for the First Quarter of 2017 from an area of only 997,000 hectares also showed a dramatic increase of over 210,000-metric tons compared to the same period in 2016 from a bigger area of about 1.1-million hectares.

President Duterte said that while there is a need to import rice to fill up the requirements of the country for buffer stock, the importation must not be done during the peak harvest season as this would compete with the production of the Filipino rice farmers.

The controversy over the recent decision of an Undersecretary in the Office of the President to recommend continued importation of rice from Vietnam even against the position taken by the administrator of the National Food Authority, Jason Aquino, has resulted in the dismissal of Undersecretary Halmen Valdez.

The dismissal of Valdez was announced by President Duterte in his speech before the farmers and officials of Nueva Ecija in Talavera town.
During his speech yesterday, President Duterte said that while there is already open trade in the face of the Asean Integration, he will ensure that the Filipino farmers are protected from unwarranted competition through the manipulation of vested interests who intend to profit from continued importation.

(Photos show President Duterte being shown the difference in the number of grains in the panicles of a Hybrid Rice Variety as compared to an Inbred Rice. Other photos show the demonstration of a mechanised Combined Harvester/Thresher in the rice field of a Farmer's Cooperative in Tabacao, Talavera, Nueva Ecija yesterday. Photos by Mayette Tudlas.)

President Duterte announces PHL will no longer import rice President Duterte announces PHL will no longer import rice Reviewed by AsianPolicy.Press on 11:43:00 PM Rating: 5

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