Philippine Farmers Seek Review of Rice Law as Prices Plunge

A farmer sun-drying his rice harvest on August 23, 2018 in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, southern Philippines. (Photo: Getty Images)

By Ditas Lopez and Cecilia Yap

As rice prices plunge, farmers in the Philippines are asking President Rodrigo Duterte to review a 5-month-old law that paved the way for unlimited imports of the staple grain, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pinol said.

Rice prices at the farm gate dropped to 12-14 pesos ($0.24-$0.27) a kilo from 20 pesos earlier this year, Pinol said on his Facebook account. That would result in an annual loss of about 114 billion pesos ($2.24 billion) for Filipino rice farmers, he said.

The law, signed in February, removed caps on rice imports and boosted supply of the stable grain. The measure was intended to help cool inflation, which in 2018 accelerated to the fastest pace in nine years and triggered one of the most aggressive monetary tightening responses in Asia.

Rough-rice output in the second quarter probably fell 5.6% from a year ago to 3.86 million metric tons, the statistics agency said in a report.

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