Senator Kiko Pangilinan: Go slow on rice imports; we don’t want to be swimming in rice

October 13, 2011

Press Statement
October 13, 2011

Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan today says that there is a need to balance the sufficiency of supply of rice in the country and addressing the concern of farmers, especially those hardest hit by typhoons and flooding.

“In the past government was heavily addicted to rice imports. Going back to this addiction is the wrong way to go,” Pangilinan says. “We trust that President Aquino has sufficient information regarding the state of our rice supply to decide against additional rice imports for 2011. While importing rice ensures we have an adequate and steady supply of the commodity, it has also a direct impact on the price of rice in the local market should the supply be more than sufficient.”

“An oversupply of rice due to imports impacts directly on the income of our farmers who have suffered greatly due to the damage to their crops brought about by the recent typhoons.”

Pangilinan says the country cannot afford to have an oversupply of rice as doing so will impoverish more farmers in the countryside.

“Too much rice is a disincentive for farmers to plant more rice when the farmgate prices are low. We do not want to add to the suffering of our farmers by flooding the market with rice imports. In order to protect the welfare of our local farmers, the importation of rice must be done only when it is absolutely necessary and in amounts that will not flood the markets. We cannot afford to go back to the days wherein we were swimming in rice as it hurts our local farmers.”