Agri dept eyes non-tariff measures to 'manage' rice imports

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 04 2019 03:09 PM

MANILA -- The Department of Agriculture said Wednesday it was considering non-tariff measures on rice to help farmers cope with rising imports.

The DA will inspect ports and implement stricter requirements for the issuance of sanitary and phytosanitary clearances that are necessary for rice shipments, Secretary William Dar said.

Farmers complained that the price of palay or rough rice dropped to P7 to P11 a kilo due to a flood of cheap rice from abroad under the new tariff-based regime that replaced import quotas.

"We have to go through non-tariff measures that would manage the importation of rice kasi madami nang pumasok (there are too many),” Dar told reporters.

"Makakita kami ng isang bukbok sa bigas ihold namin, kahit isa lang. That’s how strict we are in implementing the sanitary and phytosanitary measures," he said.

(If we see even just one weevil, we will hold the importation.) 

Dar also assured local farmers that the government would not bring in imported rice during the harvest season.