AGRICULTURE Secretary Emmanuel Pinol on Wednesday reiterated that he would not allow the private sector to “control” rice production and supply here in the Philippines.
“Hindi ko hahayaang ma-control ng private sector ang supply ng bigas” (I will not let the private sector control rice production here in the country), Pinol said in a press conference during the launch of the “Bigas para sa Masa” at the Department of Agriculture (DA).
Rice is the staple food here in the country, therefore it is appropriate that the government manage it,” said Pinol.
Pinol issued a similar statement last Sunday amid reports that private businessmen were behind the discrepancy in the rice stocks and the market price.
In a statement, Secretary Pinol also said that the DA would help the farmers sell their rice to the market. He added that the terms for loans between the department and the farmers would also be improved.
The secretary said the country was currently 96 percent “sufficient,” in rice supply, debunking reports of a shortage.
Secretary Pinol also said that the Philippines may continue to increase its rice sufficiency within the next 5 to 10 years but this may not be sustained because of the continuing population growth. ALEC NALDO