Agri group thumbs down possible reduction in rice tariff

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 12) — Agricultural group Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG) on Tuesday said it disagrees with the tariff reduction proposal of the Department of Finance (DOF) as this may drive the price of imported rice up.

“We are not for lowering the tariff,” SINAG chairman Rosendo So told CNN Philippines’ The Source.

DOF Secretary Benjamin Diokno said in a briefing last week that his department is proposing to temporarily reduce the 35% rice import tariff rates to 0 percent or a maximum of 10% to arrest the surge in rice prices.

However, So said this will not be good for the country.

Kung binaba mo yung tariff syempre mas malaki yung ibibili natin, so kung ganon mangyayari ang tingin namin itataas ng Thailand and Vietnam yung presyo,” he pointed out.

[Translation: If you reduce the tariff of course we will buy more. Given that, we think Thailand and Vietnam will increase their prices.]

So said that instead of lowering the tariff, the government should focus on providing assistance to rice farmers. He noted that there are still tariff collections from last year worth ₱12 billion which can be used to distribute the ₱5,000 subsidy per farmer, he noted.

If planting will also continue from October to December, local produce will be enough until July 2024, he added.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. approved the implementation of a price cap for regular milled rice at ₱41.00 per kilo and for well-milled rice at ₱45.00 per kilo to address the increasing price of the staple grain.

So said in the first two days, some retailers including those in the provinces closed down due to confusion. They have resumed operations now and are implementing the price cap, he added.

SINAG believes the price cap can be lifted in two weeks' time as the cost of rice further declines and harvest reaches its peak season this month. It is seen to reach around ₱43 to ₱44 per kilo in October, lower than the imposed cap, So noted.

The group said harvest for September is expected to reach 2.7 million metric tons of palay.