Farmers oppose unfair distribution of imported rice

Farmer cooperatives and leaders and grains stakeholders from different regions in the country continue opposing the new guidelines on the importation of  805, 200 metric tons of white rice under the Minimum Access Volume-Country Specific Quota and Minimum Access Volume-Omnibus Origin (MAV-CSQ) and (MAV-OMB) for CY 2017-2018 by the private sector of the National Food Authority Importation Program.
Farmer-cooperative representatives  from Region 1, 3, 4, 11 and the National Capital Region are appealing to the  National Food of Authority(NFA) Council regarding the new guidelines on the importation of rice where they sent a letter of appeal to the Office of the President.
Based on their appeal, it stated there their position in the unfair  80:20 percent allocation of imported rice in favor of the non-farmers organization  wherein the farmers organization are proposing the 50:50 percent sharing for more equitable distribution  and will not loose in the bidding process..
The new guidelines favoring more allocation for  commercial rice traders or non-farmer organization is not in consonance with the R.A. 9435, shield against unfair competition, Chairman Simeon Sioson of Federation of Central Luzon Cooperative said.
William Saratao, Chairman of Regional Farmers Action Council, Region XII said, the new guidelines is again prejudicial to Farmers Organizations in computing volume of allocation eligibility in providing provision limiting its networth by excluding total asset.
In their letter to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, they are requesting that the previous accepted guidelines of computation of networth includes total asset less liabilities be prevailed so that more farmers organization can participate.

The same appeal was made also by grains stakeholders in Bulacan during a  forum held recently facilitated by NFA deputy administrator for marketing operation Judy Carol Dansal and NFA-Bulacan manager Elvira Obana.

Obana said the forum was called to address concerns being raised by stakeholders in the rice industry that reached them particularly on the new guidelines on rice importations while Dansal explained the current rice importation guidelines of the NFA.

They noted “The cited lopsided volume allocation of 80:20 in favor of non-farmers organizations” is a carryover of the anti-poor NFA practice in the past administration that is considered as an anti-poor practice.
By increasing volume rice allocation to 50 percent for the farmers organizations, it will enhance the profit and income opportunities envisioned under the said law for the country’s farmers, they added.
Eugene Ramirez, chairman of RFAC Region 3 and spokesperson National Farmers Cooperative, based on the computation, from the minimum of 1,000 to 50,000 metric tons were allocated to  Non farmer Organizations while 500 to 5,000 only for the Farmers Organization which clearly violates the R.A 8435 or  Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act of 1997.
The FO are not also in favor of the NFA Council 15-day period for them to submit their eligibility requirements where they want the council to consider their proposal of 30-day grace period enough time for them to prepare the documents.
Meanwhile, the palace responded to their opposition letter wherein President Duterte wants  the NFA Council members comments and recommendation on the matter raised by the farmers organizations impending the auction scheduled on June 14.
The NFA Council composed of Office of the President, National Food Authority (NFA), Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), Land Bank of the Philippines, Department of Finance (DOF), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).