The Federation of Free Farmers (FFF) estimated that in 2019, rice farmers lost a total of P68.18 billion, twice as much as consumers saved because of lower grain prices in the first year of Rice Tariff Law implementation.
According to the FFF report, from 2018 the average retail price of regular milled rice (RMR) decreased by P2,61 per kilo, while the price of well-milled rice (WMR) decreased by P1,99 per kilogram.
If the drop in RMR and WMR prices per kilogram is compounded by an amount of rice consumption of 9,466 million metric tons, this will result in savings or losses of P34.16 billion for rice consumers.
In comparison, the average palay farmgate price decreased from P20.40 per kilo in 2018 by P3.62 to P16.78 per kilo.
If the palay price difference of P3.62 is compounded by the amount of palay production of 18.814 million metric tons, total losses of P68.18 billion for rice producers will result.
The law on tariffing for rice, enacted in 2019, abolished the quantitative limitations and most government controls on rice imports.
An estimated 3 million tons of imported rice entered the country throughout the year, effectively making the Philippines the world’s largest importer of rice in 2019, FFF estimates.
The FFF reiterated its call for a thorough review of the Rice Tariff Law and for the law to be revised early as deemed necessary.
The group also urged the government to review and update its initiatives urgently in order to help farmers cope with the fall in palay prices.