ORANI, Bataan — With the increased competition from imported rice, partly in connection with the implementation of the Rice Tariffication Law, the price of rice has drastically fallen.
The average wholesale price of well-milled rice reportedly decreased 8% to Php 39.14 per kilo toward the end of July 2019 while the wholesale price of regular-milled rice fell 10% to Php 35.27 per kilo and the average retail price also decreased by 7.7% to Php 38.38 per kilo.
Meanwhile, the cost of rice production including the farm fertilizers and pesticides remains high. The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported last August 2019, the notable increases in fertilizer prices were notably in rice producing regions like Central Luzon, Cagayan Valley, Western Visayas and the Bangsamoro Region.
“Wala na po kami halos kinikita sa pagsasaka namin. Sa mga gastusin na lamang po napupunta ang panggastos namin lalo na sa mahal ngayon ng mga pestisidyo at fertilizer tapos sa bentahan ng ani namin binabarat pa kami,” Bong Cruz, a farmer from Hermosa, Bataan lamented.
The present plight of the Filipino farmers prompted Bataan 1st District Congresswoman Geraldine B. Roman to file House Bill no. 5450 or “An Act Exempting from Taxes Fertilizers and Pesticides Used in Rice Production.”
Roman said this bill seeks to exempt from all taxes the fertilizers and pesticides used in rice production to make them more affordable and enable farmers to earn reasonable profit.
In relation to this, Congresswoman Roman also filed House Bill 4625 or the “Filipino Farmers First Act” which seeks to mandate all rice retailers to identify locally produced rice as produce by Filipino farmers.
“Ang agrikultura ay isa sa mga sandigan ng ating bansa. Sa pamamagitan ng ating mga magsasaka ay matitiyak natin na mayroong makakain ang bawat Pilipino subalit hindi nila magagampanan ang tungkuling ito kung ang mga produkto nila ay hindi mabibili,” Roman told her followers in her Facebook Page.