Entry of smuggled rice in Davao alarms farmers-A A +A
Sunday, February 10, 2013
ALARMED by the entry of smuggled rice in Davao Region, farmers have appealed to President Benigno Aquino III to act on it.
In an interview on Sunday, Rodolfo Dayot, a representative of a farmers group in South Cotabato, said widespread rice smuggling has already resulted in lower demand and decline in the prices of locally grown rice.
Dayot said prices for locally produced grains have dropped from P15.20 to P12.50 due to the proliferation of imported rice. He said chances are high that this will further drop.
Illegally imported rice allegedly proliferated in the region and affected a big number of small farmers, according to Dayot.
Most farmers from South Cotabato are selling their produce in Davao. Dayot said the smuggled rice mostly came from Vietnam.
"Previous weeks, sige na bagsak ang presyo sa palay. Ginapasanginlan namo kining mga traders, abi namo sila naga manipulate sa presyo sa palay. May tendency pa magbaba ang palay dahil reason ng mga traders, sa imported na bigas (During the previous weeks, prices of rice have dropped. We thought this was because of the traders. We were thinking they were manipulating the price of rice. There's a tendency the prices will drop further because according to the traders, it’s because of the imported rice)," Dayot said.
"Very alarming na. Base sa among computation, hindi kami maka-survive na i-compete yung local rice namin sa imported rice dahil masyadong mababa ang imported rice (It's now very alarming. Based on our computation, we cannot survive if we compete our locally produced rice to the imported rice because the price of imported rice is very low)," he added.
Dayot said the imported rice costs P1,210 per sack, which is way below the prevailing price of P1,400 for locally milled grains.
"Dito sa Davao ang bagsakan ng imported rice. Makikita yan sa palengke. Sa survey namin, 40-60 percent of Mindanao loaded yan ng imported rice (Imported rice is being unloaded in Davao. You can see that in the public market. Our survey shows 40 to 60 percent of Mindanao is loaded with imported rice)," he said.
He added that 60 percent of the market of South Cotabato farmers is from Davao City. Now, local market wants them to level their prices with the imported rice.
Dayot said they only wanted Aquino to address the problem, which has grown alarming especially to the small farmers who are widely affected by the entry of the smuggled rice.
"We are not saying it is a syndicate because we have no papers on hand. We just want to ask President Noynoy Aquino na tigilan na ito dahil apektado na ang farmers. Lahat ng farmers matatamaan sa ganitong imported rice," Dayot said.
"I-regulate lang sana, kasi lahat ng bagay pag sobra, masama na," he added.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on February 11, 2013.