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May 2024

Marcos says increase in rice production should redound to farmers

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. underscored Monday that an increase in rice production should benefit the local farmers.

Marcos made the remark during the official launching of the 2023 Mariano Marcos State University – Philippine Rice Research Institute (MMSU-PhilRice) Rice Paddy Art at the MMSU campus in Batac, Ilocos Norte.

“It is correct that we have to increase our production but we have to make sure that increase in production redounds to the benefit of the farmer because it is equally important for me that the farmer makes a good living,” Marcos said in his speech.

“And together hand in hand with the rest of government, with the rest of the private sector partners, we will come together and bring it to the market at an affordable price,” he added.

The President said it is the “government’s job to bring now those new products to the market and to make sure that whatever profits are made at the market it will redound also to the benefit of the farmers.”

Marcos has issued Executive Order (EO) 39, which mandates a price cap of P41 per kilo for regular-milled rice and P45 per kilo for well-milled rice effective September 5, 2023.

Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno on Monday clarified that the economic team supports the implementation of a price cap on rice, following his admission that they were surprised by the recent executive order.

In a statement, Diokno said the economic team views EO 39 as an “essential” stop-gap measure citing the importance of having additional measures to supplement it to achieve long-term rice price stability in the country.

“We agree with the President that implementing a price cap on rice is the most prudent course of action at the moment to achieve two critical objectives: stabilizing rice prices and extending immediate support to our fellow countrymen,” he said.

Advocacy groups, however, have raised concern over the EO, saying this could result in lower farmgate prices to the detriment of farmers.

Rice farmers have also expressed concern over the impact of the price ceiling on them. For one, farmers in Isabela claimed that while the current trading price for rice grains is around P23 per kilo, the price ceiling may affect their income soon.

The government earlier said that financial aid would be provided to farmers affected by the price ceiling.

On Saturday, the government, through the Department of Social Welfare and Development, started distributing the P15,000 cash assistance to micro rice retailers affected by the price ceiling on the food staple. —KG, GMA Integrated News QR Code

Published Date: September 11, 2023

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