Press Release
November 15, 2018

Para hindi na magbilad sa kalsada, rice tariffs must fund projects that will save 2.5 M tons of rice wasted

Proceeds from duties collected under the rice tariffication regime should be funnelled into the improvement of post-harvest facilities like dryers in order to save 1/6th of the national palay output lost to poor after-harvest handling, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said.

Recto said an estimated 17 percent of the country's yearly palay yield is lost to absent or poor post-harvest facilities and practices, resulting in a wastage of about two and a half million metric tons of rice.

The volume of rice lost due to poor palay harvesting, threshing, drying, milling and storage is enough to meet the annual needs of 12 million Filipinos or nearly the population of Metro Manila, Recto said.

"Theoretically, we can forego the need to import rice if we can lessen by just one-third our post-harvest losses," Recto said

According to Recto, a 2010 government study pegged at 4.3 percent the amount of palay wasted during harvest, and 5.5 percent during milling. Other causes are drying (5.9 percent), and storage (0.8 percent).

If this ratio is measured against the 2017 harvest of 19.28 million metric tons, then some 3.8 million metric tons of palay were wasted during the processing chain, from harvest to storage, Recto said.

"Yung sa drying, the solutions range from building more drying pavements, to concreting of farm roads, to more mechanical dryers, to the simple distribution of drying mats to farmers," he said.

"Kung wala 'yan, doon sa national highway sila mapipilitang magbilad. Ang solusyon ay hindi ikulong at pagmultahin ang mga magsasaka, kundi bigyan sila ng mga alternatibong bilaran," he said.

Recto said duties collected by the government once import restrictions are replaced by tariffs should fund projects and programs that will reduce post-harvest losses.

"Kasama 'yan sa plowback menu na nasa Rice Tariffication Bill na version ng Senado. Sa Senate version, 100 percent ng koleksyon ay ibabalik sa magsasaka sa pamamagitan ng production support, new infrastructure, direct compensation at iba pa," Recto said.

Recto said it is the government's duty to see to it that the produce of rice farmers, who labor in one of the hardest professions, is not wasted.

He said agriculture, which is where millions of poor are, should be included in the government's infrastructure drive.

"Our farmers can only plant, plant, plant if we build, build, build more farm facilities like irrigation," Recto said.

The budget of Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization under the 2019 National Expenditure Program is a mere P310 million, of which P62 million is for capital outlays, which, Recto said "is like one grain of palay in a whole sack of government spending."

"Pati yung farm-to-market roads natin between 12,000 to 23,000 kilometers ay gravel road pa rin, ngunit taun-taon mga 500 kilometers to 1,000 kilometers lang ang nasesemento dahil kulang sa pondo," Recto said.

News Latest News Feed