National Rice Program Allows Partial Foreign Investments

Manila Bulletin, June 30, 2013 | Go to article overview

National Rice Program Allows Partial Foreign Investments


The Department of Agriculture announced that its National Rice Program favors allowing foreign direct investments in some aspects of rice production but maintained it is against full foreign equity in rice production and supply.

Assistant Secretary Dante S. Delima, national rice program coordinator, in a memorandum addressed to Secretary Proceso J. Alcala last week, clarified this position in light of a letter from the National Economic and Development Authority seeking the agency's views or positions on proposals to lift limitations on foreign participation in agriculture.

"In general, the National Rice Program is of the view that rice, as the country's food staple, is a political commodity and should not be left in the hands of foreign capital to control," Delima said. "This level of food sovereignty, at least insofar as rice is concerned, is consistent with the Administration's thrust to become self-sufficient in rice and other food staples as outlined in the Food Staples Sufficiency Program (FSSP)," he added in his memo.

Delima, citing the FSSP which is also the National Rice Program's roadmap, clarified that rice remains an important crop as food and as source of livelihood.

"More than two million households are engaged in rice-based farming; millions more of farm laborers, and tens of thousands of merchants, depend on rice farming and trading for a living," he said.

In addition, he said the realities of world trade make self-sufficiency a desirable goal. "Countries can be held to ransom by any reason (economic, political, or ideological), and world rice trade is the subject of political decisions by governments, who are the biggest market players and who consider rice a vital commodity," he added. …

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