IPIL, ZAMBOANGA SIBUGAY — At a time when rice farmers are reeling from decreasing income due to Rice Import and Export Liberalization Law, also known as Republic Act 11203, exporting premium quality rice to Papua New Guinea could be a solution.
The possibility of Mindanao rice farmers exporting rice to PNG has opened after Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) chair Emmanuel Piñol had met Monday with PNG officials led by Ambassador Betty Palaso and Vice Minister Mannaseh Makiba.
“I invited our friends from Papua New Guinea because one of the first projects that we will undertake is to initially export premium Mindanao rice to Papua New Guinea. They are importing rice as of the moment,” Piñol told Mindanews.
The former Agriculture secretary said Mindanao farmers should seize the opportunity.
He identified the following areas as capable of producing export quality rice: Banaybanay in Davao Oriental, North Cotabato, Zamboanga del Sur, and Zamboanga Sibugay.
The MinDA chair admitted that rice farmers are adversely affected as imported rice flood the local market saying cheaper imported rice are preferred than the locally-produced rice.
Piñol said the only way to help our rice farmers is to seize the opportunity of exporting premium quality rice to selected countries like PNG, Singapore, and Solomon Islands
People in PNG, Piñol said, do not mind about the price as long as the quality of the rice is good.
The solution is to develop the niche of exporting premium quality rice, he said. (Mindanao Sun)