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Peasant women slams Pernia over ‘farmers’ rice obsession’ statement

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MANILA, November 20 -- The National Federation of Peasant Women (Amihan) assailed National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Ernesto Pernia on his statement pushing for rice tariffication to reduce the ‘rice obsession’ of farmers.

Pernia in an interview last Thursday stated that “with the removal of the quantitative restriction (QR), the government will be able to reduce the ‘rice obsession’ of farmers while helping millions of consumers have access to more affordable rice in the market.”

“Considering rice production as ‘rice obsession’ is idiotic and insensitive. He undervalues the important role of rice farmers in our society. Sec. Pernia may have forgotten that rice is the staple food for 85% of our population and millions of Filipinos’ livelihood depends on rice farming and trade. Rice production is not an obsession. It is a way of living,” Amihan chair Zen Soriano said.

“Pernia’s statement is alarming as it promotes crop conversion, rice importation and state abandonment of agriculture which will further threaten our country’s food security,” Soriano added.

The peasant woman leader said that the chronic problem of the local rice industry is primarily rooted in the absence of genuine agrarian reform program and the lack of support services and subsidies in agriculture. The liberalization of agriculture has worsened the country’s dependency on rice importation.

“The rising price of rice is because of the monopoly control of rice cartels and private rice traders who have direct hand on the supply and prices on the market,” Soriano said.

“Replacing quantitative restrictions with rice tariffs will not solve the persistent problem of rice self-sufficiency, dependence on importation, high market price of rice, and the poverty of farmers,” Soriano added. 

“Implementing a genuine agrarian reform with the provision of support services is necessary in the attainment of food security and the betterment of farmers’ livelihood. Giving proper attention to the agriculture sector, strict government regulation on rice prices in the market and veering away from agricultural liberalization will pave the way for greater local production and the realization of sufficient, safe, and affordable rice,” Soriano ended.

The National Federation of Peasant Women (Amihan) assailed National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Ernesto Pernia on his statement pushing for rice tariffication to reduce the ‘rice obsession’ of farmers.

Pernia in an interview last Thursday stated that “with the removal of the quantitative restriction (QR), the government will be able to reduce the ‘rice obsession’ of farmers while helping millions of consumers have access to more affordable rice in the market.”

“Considering rice production as ‘rice obsession’ is idiotic and insensitive. He undervalues the important role of rice farmers in our society. Sec. Pernia may have forgotten that rice is the staple food for 85% of our population and millions of Filipinos’ livelihood depends on rice farming and trade. Rice production is not an obsession. It is a way of living,” Amihan chair Zen Soriano said.

“Pernia’s statement is alarming as it promotes crop conversion, rice importation and state abandonment of agriculture which will further threaten our country’s food security,” Soriano added.

The peasant woman leader said that the chronic problem of the local rice industry is primarily rooted in the absence of genuine agrarian reform program and the lack of support services and subsidies in agriculture. The liberalization of agriculture has worsened the country’s dependency on rice importation.

“The rising price of rice is because of the monopoly control of rice cartels and private rice traders who have direct hand on the supply and prices on the market,” Soriano said.

“Replacing quantitative restrictions with rice tariffs will not solve the persistent problem of rice self-sufficiency, dependence on importation, high market price of rice, and the poverty of farmers,” Soriano added. 

“Implementing a genuine agrarian reform with the provision of support services is necessary in the attainment of food security and the betterment of farmers’ livelihood. Giving proper attention to the agriculture sector, strict government regulation on rice prices in the market and veering away from agricultural liberalization will pave the way for greater local production and the realization of sufficient, safe, and affordable rice,” Soriano ended.

(MNY/RSP/AmihanPeasantWomen)
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