In support to the implementation of the Republic Act No. 11203 or Rice Tariffication Act, the Department of Agriculture –Cordillera Administrative Region (DA-CAR) together with the National Food Authority (NFA), Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC), conducted consultation with the farmer leaders from the different provinces of Cordillera last February 28, 2019 at Tabuk City, Kalinga.

President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Republic Act No. 11203 or the Act Liberalizing the Importation, Exportation and Trading of Rice, Lifting for the Purpose the Quantitative Import Restriction on Rice last February 14, 2019. A series of consultations with the different rice stakeholders was conducted to finalize its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR).

One of the highlights of the consultation was the discussion on the ‘palay’ procurement that aims to support rice buffer stocking in the country. According to the Act, buffer stock refers to the level of rice inventory that are being maintained in a given time to be used for emergency situations and to sustain the disaster relief programs of the government during calamities.

Engr. Danilo P. Daguio, Regional Technical Director for Operations said that upon implementing the law, the DA support the buffer stock by giving incentives to farmers who will sell their ‘palay’ to NFA. In the previous years the rice buffer stocking was mostly from imports, he added.

Moreover, Leslie A. Martinez, Assistant Regional Director of NFA- Region II presented the buying/selling price of rice. The cooperative can sell their products at Php 20.70 per kilo while an individual farmer can sell their products at 20.40 per kilo. A Php 3.00 was already added as a buffer stock incentives (BSI), he added.

He also ensured the full operation of the NFA stations in every provinces of CAR and in other adjacent regions.

On the other hand, ACPC gave their support by providing loans to farmers who will sell their ‘palay’ to the NFA. These are loans for production, farm machinery, and working capital that can be availed by cooperatives and individual farmers.

The creation of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) as stated in the law provides P10 Billion a year for six years to improve mechanization, seed development and promotion, credit and insurance assistance, and research, training, and extension services.

With this, DA-CAR will conduct an Information Caravan to disseminate the salient features and benefits of the law and the commitments of the key players such as the government agencies, local government units (LGUs), and the farmer beneficiaries to support its implementation.//HDanis