Talavera, Nueva Ecija
April 5, 2017

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte assured the protection and welfare of Filipino farmers as he graced the Grand Harvest Festival of SL Agritech Corporation in Talavera, Nueva Ecija.

Speaking before hundreds of farmers during the event, President Duterte said that he would give orders for the suspension of additional rice importations since there has been a dramatic increase in paddy rice harvest on the first quarter of 2017.

“Anong mukha ko na iharap ko sa farmers? Why would we allow importation to compete with local product? Hanggang ngayon, hindi ko mabasa anong ginawa nilang rason… Open market na tayo, pero you know, you have to protect the Filipino,” the President said.

He vowed to protect the Filipino farmers from competition originating from people who continue to profit from continued importation. He added that though there is still a need to import in order to meet the requirements for sufficient stock, importation should not be done when Filipino rice farmers are at the peak of their harvest season.

Based on the latest data provided by Agriculture (DA) Secretary Manny Piñol, the average rice yield recorded for the first quarter of 2017 soared to 4.15 million metric tons per hectare compared to the 3.9 million metric tons last year. Because of this, there will be an increase of 1 million metric tons of paddy rice or 650,000 metric tons of milled rice every year.

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