Amidst the passage of the Republic Act 11203 (Philippine Rice Tariffication)/Quantitative Restriction on February 14, 2019, the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office No. 02 (DA-RFO 02) ignites hopes to Cagayan Valley agri-stakeholders by accessing the different program, projects and interventions offered by the department under its rice program.

In his messages, during the consultation meetings with stakeholders held previous days, Regional Executive Director Narciso A. Edillo assured that the DA shall fully support the implementation of RA11203 by continuously helping the farmers in improving their competitiveness and income through the High Yielding Technology Adoption for Hybrid Rice (HYTA-HR) Program, Rice Model Farm Cluster Project and other related interventions of DA-RFO 02.

The RA11203 is an act liberalizing the importation and trading of rice, lifting for the purpose the quantitative import restriction on rice and for other purposes.

RED Edillo stressed that it has been 24 years since the Philippines was granted approval by the World Trade Organization (WTO) to impose quantitative restriction (QR) on rice importation into the country.

“We need to respect the commitment that our government entered in 1995”, he said.

Pursuant to the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement, Southeast Asian countries will pay 35% tariff or the import duty rate commitment of the Philippines for rice importation. While for the non-ASEAN member states, the tariff is at 50 percent (%) in accordance with the World Trade Organization agreement on agriculture.

He added that the Philippine government expects to generate a Php10 billion pesos from the tariff which will be used as Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF). The farmers can avail assistance from the Php 10 billion Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) as provided for by the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL) on top of DA’s Rice Program regular budget.

He also stressed that the Php5 billion will be allotted for farm mechanization to be implemented by Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech), Php 3 billion pesos for seed development and propagation to be implemented by Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice); Php1 billion pesos for technical skills training to be implemented by Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), PhilRice and Technical Education Skills Development Authority (TESDA); and Php 1 billion pesos for the credit assistance to be implemented by the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) and Development Bank of the Philippines (DPB).

Edillo furthered by explaining the message of DA Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol that the local rice industry not only in Region 2 but in the entire country will be boost and will receive more funding within the year and next year because the tariffs that will be collected from the imported rice will be channelled back to farmers. “Knowing our President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and DA Secretary, they will always find means so that our farmers will not be severely affected by the effect of this Law”, Edillo stressed.