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BOARD OF ADVISERS:
Gerardo Sicat
Cesar A. Virata
BOARD OF TRUSTEES:
Roberto De Ocampo
Chairman
Romeo Bernardo
Vice-Chairman
Calixto Chikiamco
President
Ernest Leung
Treasurer
Atty. Ricardo Balatbat III
Corporate Secretary
Anthony Abad
Art Corpuz
Eduardo Gana
Felipe Medalla
Vaughn Montes
Simon Paterno
Perry Pe
Gloria Tan-Climaco
Atty. Ricardo Balatbat III
Executive Director
Foundation for Economic Freedom, Inc.
105 Philippine Social Science Center (PSSC) Commonwealth Ave., Diliman, Quezon City
Telefax: (632) 4532375 (Main Office) Tel No.: (632) 8939602 (Accounting)
Website: www.fef.org.ph Email: fefphilippines@gmail.com / fef@fef.org.ph
Let change come to the present rice policy: Liberalize rice importation!
We, the Foundation for Economic Freedom, an organization dedicated to market-
friendly reforms, good governance, and economic and political liberty, call on the incoming
Duterte administration to break from the present policy of protecting the rice importation
monopoly of the National Food Authority (NFA). We urge instead to liberalize rice importation to
realize the new administration’s promise of affordable food for the poor.
The discredited policy of allowing NFA to monopolize rice importation, subjecting rice
imports to quantitative restrictions, and giving out import permits to favored importers only
resulted in rampant corruption in the Department of Agriculture, high rice prices for consumers,
unabated smuggling due to the price discrepancy between local rice and landed imported rice,
and palpable inability of the government to quickly respond to supply and demand factors for
rice.
If change is coming to the past and present policies, the incoming Duterte administra-
tion should remove the present NFA monopoly on rice importation, liberalize rice importation,
and instead impose tariffs on rice imports to generate revenue that can be channeled directly to
rice farmers.
Liberalizing rice importation will enhance food security, rather than diminish it. Malaysia
allows up to 30% of its needs to be met by rice imports. Singapore, which has no agricultural
areas and relies on international trade, has been rated as the second most food secure nation in
the world after the United States by the Economist Intelligence Unit.
By liberalizing rice trade, the incoming Duterte administration can prevent the huge
losses of the NFA and make rice affordable to the masses. In fact, most poor rice farmers are net
consumers of rice, as the Kidapawan, North Cotobato farmers have shown in their recent
protest. Liberalizing rice importation will definitely benefit the poor. Our country cannot bear
rice to become more unaffordable especially at a time of supply uncertainty due to severe
drought conditions.
Furthermore, changing the present rice policy will not only unburden taxpayers with
billions of annual subsidies to NFA, but also arrest the further additions to unpayable national
government guaranteed debt, which presently exceeds PhP150 billion. The World Bank
estimates that for every PhP5 of spending for NFA, PhP4 are wasted leakages that provide no
public benefit. Such funds may be better used to support agriculture infrastructure, research
and extension services, and to develop other neglected but promising crops like coconut, coffee,
and cocoa, as well as aquaculture in the Philippines.
Release Date: May 20, 2016
For more information, please check our website: www.fef.org.ph, or contact the following:
Ranna Pintor, Senior Program Officer – rannapintor@yahoo.com /+63 2 453 2375
Angela Arnante, Program Officer – aarnante.fef@gmail.com/ +63 2 453 2375
Mabel Almenteros, Communications Officer – mialmenteros@fef.org.ph/ +63 2 453 2375

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FEF Statement on Philippine Rice Policy

  • 1. BOARD OF ADVISERS: Gerardo Sicat Cesar A. Virata BOARD OF TRUSTEES: Roberto De Ocampo Chairman Romeo Bernardo Vice-Chairman Calixto Chikiamco President Ernest Leung Treasurer Atty. Ricardo Balatbat III Corporate Secretary Anthony Abad Art Corpuz Eduardo Gana Felipe Medalla Vaughn Montes Simon Paterno Perry Pe Gloria Tan-Climaco Atty. Ricardo Balatbat III Executive Director Foundation for Economic Freedom, Inc. 105 Philippine Social Science Center (PSSC) Commonwealth Ave., Diliman, Quezon City Telefax: (632) 4532375 (Main Office) Tel No.: (632) 8939602 (Accounting) Website: www.fef.org.ph Email: fefphilippines@gmail.com / fef@fef.org.ph Let change come to the present rice policy: Liberalize rice importation! We, the Foundation for Economic Freedom, an organization dedicated to market- friendly reforms, good governance, and economic and political liberty, call on the incoming Duterte administration to break from the present policy of protecting the rice importation monopoly of the National Food Authority (NFA). We urge instead to liberalize rice importation to realize the new administration’s promise of affordable food for the poor. The discredited policy of allowing NFA to monopolize rice importation, subjecting rice imports to quantitative restrictions, and giving out import permits to favored importers only resulted in rampant corruption in the Department of Agriculture, high rice prices for consumers, unabated smuggling due to the price discrepancy between local rice and landed imported rice, and palpable inability of the government to quickly respond to supply and demand factors for rice. If change is coming to the past and present policies, the incoming Duterte administra- tion should remove the present NFA monopoly on rice importation, liberalize rice importation, and instead impose tariffs on rice imports to generate revenue that can be channeled directly to rice farmers. Liberalizing rice importation will enhance food security, rather than diminish it. Malaysia allows up to 30% of its needs to be met by rice imports. Singapore, which has no agricultural areas and relies on international trade, has been rated as the second most food secure nation in the world after the United States by the Economist Intelligence Unit. By liberalizing rice trade, the incoming Duterte administration can prevent the huge losses of the NFA and make rice affordable to the masses. In fact, most poor rice farmers are net consumers of rice, as the Kidapawan, North Cotobato farmers have shown in their recent protest. Liberalizing rice importation will definitely benefit the poor. Our country cannot bear rice to become more unaffordable especially at a time of supply uncertainty due to severe drought conditions. Furthermore, changing the present rice policy will not only unburden taxpayers with billions of annual subsidies to NFA, but also arrest the further additions to unpayable national government guaranteed debt, which presently exceeds PhP150 billion. The World Bank estimates that for every PhP5 of spending for NFA, PhP4 are wasted leakages that provide no public benefit. Such funds may be better used to support agriculture infrastructure, research and extension services, and to develop other neglected but promising crops like coconut, coffee, and cocoa, as well as aquaculture in the Philippines. Release Date: May 20, 2016 For more information, please check our website: www.fef.org.ph, or contact the following: Ranna Pintor, Senior Program Officer – rannapintor@yahoo.com /+63 2 453 2375 Angela Arnante, Program Officer – aarnante.fef@gmail.com/ +63 2 453 2375 Mabel Almenteros, Communications Officer – mialmenteros@fef.org.ph/ +63 2 453 2375