27.9 C
Monday, July 15, 2024

Marcos urges Congress to allow NFA to import, sell rice

- Advertisement -

President Marcos urged Congress to pass the proposed amendments to the Rice Tariffication Law to allow the National Food Authority to import and sell rice in a bid to stabilize prices.

Mr. Marcos said allowing the NFA to import and sell rice would help not only farmers but also consumers.

“If Congress permits the NFA to import, it will help stabilize rice prices, fulfilling its original mandate,” he said during the distribution of Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOAs) and e-titles to farmers at the South Cotabato Gymnasium and Cultural Center.

“The NFA would be able to keep up with the private sector. This is actually the primary [reason] why the NFA was established,” he added.

The President said amending the RTL is part of broader government initiatives to support Filipino farmers facing various challenges.

On Tuesday, the House of Representatives approved on third and final reading the proposed amendments to the RTL.

Under the bill, the NFA shall be allowed to – in the following order – purchase local milled rice; purchase up to a maximum of 30 percent brought in by accredited importers at cost; and as a final recourse, once all domestic sources have been exhausted, directly import rice, subject to explicit authorization from the Agriculture Secretary.

The bill also extends the validity period for the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund or RCEF for six more years and boosts its budget from P10 billion to P15 billion.

At the Upper Chamber, however, some senators have opposed the bill due to concerns about the NFA regaining authority to sell and import rice, citing past corruption allegations.

Aside from amending the RTL, Mr. Marcos said the government is looking for weather-proof rice varieties to strengthen the country’s production.

He said the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) would likewise provide farmers with machinery.

Further support includes providing fertilizers and pesticides to boost output and financial assistance programs like Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) during the typhoon season to aid affected farmers.


Popular Articles