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RTL-RCEF: Gamechanger, modernizing Phl rice industry

Author: DA Communications Group | 25 November 2021

The Department of Agriculture (DA) stands firm that the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL)  is a gamechanging reform policy that broke the decades-long inefficiency of the country’s rice sector and enhanced its prospect of being globally competitive.

“The RTL is a transformative reform that benefits all industry stakeholders – most particularly farmers and consumers –  as it liberalizes rice trade by imposing tariffs on imports in lieu of quantitative restrictions, and provides a yearly P10-billion budget through the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) for six years to empower Filipino rice farmers and enable them to compete with their ASEAN counterparts,” said Agriculture Secretary William Dar.

“In particular, rice is now cheaper than during pre-RTL years, benefiting millions of consumers, and that farmers are harvesting and earning more per hectare,” the DA chief added.

“Despite the blabber and noise by detractors, we see the RTL and RCEF as testaments to what a sustainable policy can do to help ensure food security for more than 100 million Filipinos,” said Secretary Dar.

Citing data collated by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) and DA-Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service (AMAS), he added that the RTL has significantly brought down the retail prices of rice.

In particular, regular-milled rice is now cheaper, at P36 to P38 per kilogram (kg), which is P2 to P8 less than in 2018; well-milled rice is also cheaper by P2 to P5; and premium and special rice are sold P1 to P6/kg less than in 2018, according to PSA and DA-AMAS empirical data.

In addition, the sustained implementation of the RCEF as it nears the mid-term, in combination with the DA Philippine Integrated Rice Program (PIRP), has achieved several milestones, notably:

  • Average palay production has increased by 17 percent (%) to 4.26 metric tons (MT) per hectare (ha), from 3.64 MT/ha in 42 RCEF provinces;
  • Average production cost was reduced by P1, from P12.52/kg to P11.52/kg; and
  • Seed requirement per hectare using mechanical seeder decreased by 67%, from 90 kg to 30 kg; and by 33% to 60 kg via manual method.

Through its full six-year term, the RCEF aims to increase the country’s average palay production to 5 MT/ha from 3.64 MT/ha in 2019; reduce the production cost by P2/kg to P3/kg; reduce postharvest losses by 2% to 3%; and increase the average farmers’ income by 30% for those who have availed of RCEF drying and milling facilities.

Under the RTL, the Duterte administration is also providing an unconditional cash assistance of P5,000, called the Rice Farmers’ Financial Assistance (RFFA), to RSBSA-listed rice farmers, tilling two hectares and below.

The RFFA is sourced from the excess rice import tariffs in 2019 and 2020 totaling P7.6 billion (B), net of the P20-B RCEF budget for the two-year period. Secretary Dar started distributing the RFFA in October to RCEF beneficiaries, totaling 1.5 million farmers nationwide. The DA aims to complete the distribution by December.

Of the yearly P10-B RCEF budget, P5 B is allotted for farm machinery and equipment, P3 B for inbred certified seeds, and P1 B each for credit, and training, and extension. ### (DA StratComms)

 

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Matrix of Comments and Suggestions on the Proposed Department of Agriculture (DA) Memorandum Circular on Plant Breeding Innovations (PBIs)

The Department of Agriculture Technical Advisory Group on Modern Biotechnology and Related Innovations for Agriculture and Fisheries (TAG-MBI) hereby presents the matrix of response and actions taken in view of the comments and suggestions received during the conduct of virtual and written stakeholder consultations on September 23 and 30, 2021.

The matrix can be viewed and downloaded using this link: https://bit.ly/DA-memo-circular-on-PBIs-matrix-of-comments