President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s campaign promise to lower the cost of rice to 20 pesetas per kilo is currently difficult to achieve given the lack of budget support for the agricultural sector, according to outgoing Senator Francis “Kiko”. Pangilinan said on Tuesday April 14
“Given the whole setup, that would be difficult… They’ve already admitted it’s difficult to achieve at the moment). Because if you want to lower the price of rice to 20 pesos, you have to lower the cost of producing rice,” Pangilinan said in an interview with ANC’s Headstart.
Aside from the production costs, Pangilinan said the government must consider the reasons for the high production costs. One of them is irrigation, the rest concerns waste, transport and also the quality of the seed.
“So it’s not that easy to lower it per se, because you really need to increase your budget support and increase your farmer productivity,” he said.
Aside from that, the senator also said there was clearly a need for additional support for farmers, including on pesticides, fertilizers, market access and milling.
“Saatin (for us), doubling the agricultural budget with the aim and prospect of improving the production and income of our farmers and fishermen is the right way,” he stressed.
Marcos Jr. said in an interview last May that reducing the price of rice to 20pts per kilo is an “endeavor” and goal of his government without sacrificing local farmers’ incomes.
The president-elect said one way to do that is to fix the value chain to achieve a long-term mechanism.
Last week, the new agrarian reform secretary, Conrado Estrella III, also said Marcos’ pledge of P20 per kilogram of rice was currently difficult to achieve due to high fuel and fertilizer costs.
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