Press Release
October 19, 2020

Senate: Stop import of rice, fish, deboned chickens, other alternative products during harvest season

IN an effort to curb the drop of farmgate prices nationwide, the Senate calls on the Department of Agriculture (DA) and its attached agencies to stop issuing phytosanitary permits for rice and other food commodities before or during the harvest season.

"Kailangan natin ng mga agarang aksyon upang masolusyunan ang patuloy na pagbaba ng presyo ng palay at iba pang produktong pang-agrikultura. We support this manifestation and we believe that it is a good first step," said Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan after Monday's deliberation for the DA's P63.96 billion budget for 2021.

Price of palay has dropped by as much as P12 per kilo in some provinces despite the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reporting that the average price of palay is at P17 to 19 per kilo.

"Unahin muna ang ani ng ating sariling mga magsasaka bago mag-import sa labas ng bansa. Mag-import lang kung may pangangailangan," Pangilinan said.

The Senate has also called the attention of the DA on the lowered farmgate prices of other agricultural commodities such as corn and poultry, as well as over-importation and smuggling of fish.

PSA has reported that the price of corn went down by 4.6 percent during the first week of September.

Importation of whole chicken and chicken parts are asked to be paused as well.

"Kailangang mabawasan na ang ating pag-asa sa pag-aangkat. Para tayo maging food sufficient, kailangan lokal ang ating mindset. Kailangan ding mayroong sapat na suporta upang kayanin ng lokal na mabigyan ng suplay ang buong bansa," Pangilinan said.

All senators present in the hearing seconded the manifestation. Farmers and fisher folk, as well as leaders in agriculture and even in local government, have complained about the low price of their products due to massive importation. Rice farmers, in particular, have called on Congress to review and amend the Rice Tariffication Law, or Republic Act 11203, blaming it for the steep drop in palay prices.

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