Open agriculture trade only to what Philippines cannot produce

The Philippines should only open agriculture trade on commodities it cannot produce, a local agricultural group said.

Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura chairperson Rosendo So said, “I think if we can produce, there is no need [for more open trade].”

Agriculture groups such SINAG and the Federation of Free Farmers appealed to Congress to investigate the issuance of executive order 135, which lowers the tariffs for both in-quota and out-quota rice imports to 35 percent for one year.

This was done to diversify the country’s market sources, augment rice supply, maintain prices affordable and reduce pressures on inflation.

The FFF stressed that the country’s rice inventories and projected domestic production figures point to stable supplies of rice.

For his part, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said trade can be opened up for agricultural industries which the country does not have comparative advantages in.

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