A number of concerned groups and citizens, comprised mostly of farmers and producers, aired their sentiments regarding the NFA’s decision allowing private traders to import around 163,000 Metric Tons of rice this year.
Jaime Tadeo of the National Rice Famer’s Council said that the imported rice only serves to compete with the locally produced rice. Furthermore, it only opens the door further for more officials to commit graft and corruption.
Ernesto Ordonez of Alyansa Agrikultura meanwhile added that farmers have been the biggest victims of the rice smuggling issue, and many have gone angry at this.
The groups also criticize the long-standing yet unfulfilled promises of the DA and NFA to further increase rice production of local farmers by lowering production costs, leading to rice self-sufficiency by 2013.
Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala has said that by boosting farmer’s production, he hopes this may halt the issue of rice smuggling.
But farmer’s groups are pessimistic, and maintain that they have “heard that before.”