Rice importation at corruption ay isang recipe para sa kagutuman.
This was the statement of a group of farmers, fisherfolks, formal and informal sector workers, women, and urban poor in a press conference on Monday against the rice crisis and the alleged P2 billion corruption case in the National Food Authority (NFA).
The campaign is a show of force between farmers and rice consumers demanding for affordable and adequate supply of rice and solidarity with rice farmers in their struggle for decent and sustainable livelihood.
“Soaring rice prices have adversely affected us: Workers, without any wage increase in sight, continue to experience diminishing real wages due to inflation. Women, likewise experience the impact of higher prices on household budget with eroded purchasing power,” the group said in a statement.
“President Duterte does not seem to be interested in the inflation issue as it chooses to fix his attention instead on attacking the opposition,” the group lamented.
“Consumers will certainly benefit if the effort of the government to lower rice prices by tariffication turns out successful. However, the tariffication of rice imports will only lead to losses on the part of our farmers especially when there is no adequate support in place, the government retains the same policies that failed to stop the decline of agriculture, and the government keeps incompetent administrators in office,” the group added.
The group listed a list of demands to solve the rice crisis and weed out corruption in government agencies that handle programs on rice, the economy and agriculture.
- We believe that a long-term, strategic and inclusive agricultural roadmap and a government that takes this roadmap seriously should precede any trade policy.
- We also fully support the establishment of Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) which will be used to support productivity-enhancing programs for the farmers.
- We fully support the reform of NFA which should start with change of leadership. \We believe that a holistic approach—one that addresses high cost of rice production, low yield, and uncompetitive behavior of rice traders—is what the sector needs as a motivation.
- We call on our fellow consumers and farmers to unite for our common agenda of food security and decent livelihood for our farmers.
“Murang bigas para sa mamamayan. Marangal na kita para sa mga magsasaka. Alisin ang mga bukbok sa gobyerno,” the group ended. ###