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Probe gap between farmgate, retail prices of agri products as AO 20 not enough, Imee says

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Despite easing the importation of agricultural products, Senator Imee Marcos on Tuesday said Filipinos might not feel the decline in the cost of rice due to an increase in the price of imported rice.

For this reason, Marcos noted it remains incumbent upon the government to probe the wide gap between farmgate and retail prices of agricultural products.

“We should further investigate and intervene against the huge disparity between farmgate and retail prices, thence punishing exorbitant charges and cartelization,” she said.

Marcos issued the statement in reaction to Administrative Order (AO) No. 20, which streamlines administrative procedures and policies, and removes non-tariff barriers on the importation of agricultural products.

Marcos likewise mentioned that the harvest season of rice is already over. “It is also impossible for the minimum access volume (MAV) to remedy the high cost of rice,” she noted.

While easing restrictions will not lower the price of rice, Marcos believes it will, however, reduce the prices of products such as onions, fish, pork, and sugar. But she pointed out this will also impact local producers—particularly onion farmers even now selling well below their production cost.

Frequent and frank consultations between farmers, consumers and other stakeholders, Marcos said, will be essential to monitor and evaluate the effects of AO 20, as well as past MAV measures.

The senator ended her statement calling on everyone to support the Filipino farmers with investment, technology and minimal, well-regulated importation.


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