Removal of rice import quotas not likely to affect farmers: Piñol

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 30 2018 03:33 PM

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MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte's pronouncement to remove quantitative restrictions on rice importation is not likely to hurt local farmers, an agriculture official said Monday.

The removal of restrictions was supposed to be imposed last year, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol told DZMM.

"Pinaghandaan na po natin ang lifting ng quantitative restriction na 'yan. I don’t really believe na masasaktan ang ating magsasaka," Piñol said.

He said out of the 39 million metric tons of rice in the world market, only 1 million metric tons can be tapped since the rest have already been allocated. 

Piñol said recent discussion with the International Rice Research Institute revealed China is set to import 5 percent or 15 million metric tons of their rice requirements next year.

"I would even encourage our farmers to plant more kasi mag kakasikipan ng bigas next year at kailangan natin taasan pa ang ating sufficiency rating about 93 percent right now to 96 percent next year para ang ating dependence sa imported rice ay hindi ganoon kalaki," he said.

Duterte on Sunday said he decided to scrap rice import quotas as this was a source of corruption.