BIG BUSINESSES, RICE CARTEL NOT CONSUMERS BENEFIT MOST FROM IMPORT LIBERALIZATION -MAZA

“Hunger, crisis and food insecurity is what we will reap from the Arroyo government’s solutions of rice importation and continued neglect of the agricultural sector.”

Thus said Gabriela Womens Party Rep. Liza Maza as she criticized the government’s move to lift import quotas. “More importation will not guarantee consumers of cheaper rice prices and it spells the death of rice production in our country.”

The Gabriela solon explained “Import liberalization will put big private rice traders in a convenient position for price manipulation, thereby strengthening the cartel. Moreover, it will push down the farmgate prices of palay which will drive our rice farmers to further poverty. Even as a short-term solution, lifting import quotas simply will not work.”

Rep. Maza said the Arroyo government should realize that the present rice shortage is already a clear indication of the failed policies of food importation and trade liberalization and National Food Authority’s reduced intervention in local rice trading. “An immediate policy reversal is in order.”

“Self-sufficiency and food security requires an all-out government support primarily to the tillers and not just to the traders.”

Gabriela Women’s Party called for the immediate junking of the Agriculture Fisheries and Modernization Act (AFMA) which reduced the country’s rice and corn production by 2 million metric tons since it was signed in 1997.

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