Padilla files bill raising RCEF take from rice tariffs to P15 billion/year


A BILL has been filed in the Senate proposing to increase the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) allocation from rice tariffs to P15 billion from P10 billion a year.

Senator Robinhood Ferdinand C. Padilla said the increased funding for RCEF will “aid our farmers in reducing rice production costs while increasing farmer incomes.”

The RCEF is a component of the 2019 Rice Tariffication Law (Republic Act 11203), which opened up rice importing to private parties, who must pay tariffs of 35% on inbound shipments of grain from Southeast Asia. Of these tariffs, P10 billion a year is allocated to RCEF for six years to modernize rice farming practices, including support for mechanization and the acquisition of high-yielding seed.

The bill also proposed to set aside “10% of the RCEF… for scholarships, health and other similar benefits for the rice fund beneficiaries,” Mr. Padilla said in a statement on Wednesday.

The new allocations will effectively reduce the allocation for rice seed development, propagation and promotion to 20% from 30%.

Mr. Padilla said tariffication has had unintended consequences like an influx of imported rice, which has resulted in farmers receiving less for their harvest. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan