Farmers blame Aquino’s record-high rice importation for P14 palay prices
The militant peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) today blamed the Aquino government’s record-high importation last year in the steep drop of prices of palay (unhusked rice) at the farmgate.
The KMP issued the statement after reports said that selling price of palay in Nueva Ecija dropped to P14.50 per kilogram for manually harvested grains and P14 per kilo for those harvested by machine. The report also quoted a rice trader in the Science City of Munoz saying that traders have stopped buying more palay because they still have enough stocks and the rice imported by the government has arrived.
“Aquino’s continuing policy of rice importation and his continued coddling of rice cartels is the main culprit in the shrinking prices of palay,” says KMP chair Rafael Mariano adding: “Aquino’s constant failure to control the skyrocketing prices of rice, the plummeting prices of palay, and his obvious coddling of rice cartels are strong grounds for the people to call for the landlord Aquino regime’s ouster from power.”
“Farmers who shoulder the high costs of production are now confronted by the predicament of their losses. They are also facing the dilemma if they can still plant for the next planting season,” Mariano said noting that “farmers will again run to usurers and unscrupulous traders in order to produce the rice and feed the nation.”
Mariano added that the “steep drop in palay prices, from the average P18 per kilo last harvest to the present P14 a kilo, is also being experienced in the Bicol region.”
“This is the result of the continuing arrival of the record-high 2.8 million metric tons of imported rice contracted by the Aquino government last year,” the peasant leader said recalling that “in August last year the Aquino government announced the importation of 1.2 million MT of rice.”
“Aside from the 1.2 million MT, another 500,000 MT was imported in September by the government allegedly to replenish its buffer stock, for a total of 1.7 million MT,” the KMP said adding: “If we include this 1.7 million MT to the corruption riddled importation of 800,000 MT during the first quarter of 2014 and the 350,000 MT under the minimum access volume of the World Trade Organization, the Aquino government will have a total of 2.850 million MT rice importation for 2014.
“The 2014 rice importation is a record-high annual rice importation. Aquino already surpassed Arroyo’s 2.1 million MT importation in 2010,” the KMP said.
“Instead of pulling down rice prices, the arrival and release of imported rice in the local market led to the further shrinking of palay prices. Without government control on prices of commercial rice, the release of imported rice will further boost rice prices up,” Mariano said.
“The unbridled entry of imported rice will further pull-down the farmgate prices of palay during the peak harvest next month. The Aquino government who did not extend a single centavo to help us cope from the effects of the calamities is pushing farmers deeper in debt,” Mariano said. #