Farmers hope for a Govt that will curb agri-imports

“Public servants, especially at the national level, must address the most basic need of Filipinos—food,” says a farmers’ group, and hopes the next administration will reduce dependence on agricultural imports. Self-sufficiency will be improved and hunger addressed, they said.
“Increasing food importation paves the way for increased food smuggling. All these lead to more income losses for farmers, leading to less food production, and worse, hunger for every Filipino.
“Food self-sufficiency is in the interest of the whole nation and 2022 aspirants must dedicate more attention to it,” said KMP national chairman Danilo Ramos.

MANILA — The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) in a statement released over the weekend challenged all opposition presidential candidates to address the country’s deteriorating reliance on food imports by the Duterte administration.

In a statement issued over the weekend, the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Philipins (KMP) issued a challenge to all opposition presidential candidates to address the country’s deteriorating reliance on food importation by the Duterte administration.

The farmers say that most presidential aspirants remain silent on food security.

“The next president needs to reverse Duterte’s legacy of worse food importaion and hunger,” said Danilo Ramos, KMP national chairperson.

“Instead of recalibrating and aggressively supporting local food production, neoliberal economic managers doubled down on failed policies during the pandemic and pushed for more and more imports,” Ramos stressed.

Highlighted are the Government’s “failed policies” as examples of how it has put too much undue pressure on farmers:

  • The Rice Tariffication Law in 2019
  • Executive Order 135, issued in an effort to diversify supplies in the face of rising global rice prices, has harmed farmers, as rice tariffs were reduced to 35 percent for all countries in May of this year.
  • The minimum access volume (MAV) for pork meat was increased to 254,210 metric tons (MT) from 54,210 MT in EO 133, which was also published this year.
  • The KMP referenced the approval of 60,000 MT of fish imports by the Department of Agriculture (DA) to supplement supply during the closed fishing season.

In 2020, the country’s food import dependency ratio was 24.9 percent, up from 21.56 percent in 2015, when the Duterte administration took office. The Philippine Statistics Authority provided the information.

Meanwhile, SINAG (Samahang Industria ng Agrikultura) has advocated for a more sustainable and localized agriculture to ensure that more food is grown where it is required.

“Future generations will only thrive if protection and support are given to the producerss of our agriculture and food systems, there is no other way around,” said SINAG chairman Rosendo So.

Only when a country can sufficiently produce its own food and export its surplus production would trade and the pursuit of international market access in agricultural commodities be beneficial Ramos said. (RA/The MiNT)

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