By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
The Negros Occidental chapter of the Grain Retailers’ Confederation of the Philippines (Grecon) recently expressed concern over the possible effects imposed by the proposed tariffs on rice, which is currently being pushed by the national government.
Grecon-Negros Occidental President Shirley Nacion called rice tariffs “disadvantageous” for farmers because it would boost commercial rice and the private sector would be the only ones buying.
She said it would also lead to the disappearance of National Food Authority rice outlets as there would not longer be distribution and only buffer stocks would be made available during times of calamity.
The local Grecon official added, if price controls on rice are strictly followed, it would only be favorable to consumers.
Earlier, the National Economic and Development Authority urged the immediate enactment of the “rice tariffication bill,” stating it is fundamental in the stabilization of food prices.
The bill, amending the two-decade old Agricultural Tariffication Act of 1996, replaces the quantitative restriction on rice imports with a 35 percent tariff.
Following ratification before both chambers of Congress, the bill is expected to be sent to Malacañan Palace for President Rodrigo Duterte’s signature./DGB, WDJ