Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Why smuggling of rice persists?

The beautiful Miss International 2013 Bea Santiago tells us to "kill your enemies with kindness". That's a good saying. This, however, does not apply to rice smugglers.

Rice smuggling kills thousands of farmer families especially in Central Luzon. Those 6 billion worth of lost revenues translate to thousands of hectares of rice fields improved and cultivated to generate yield for thousands of farming families in this country.

Why, you ask, do we still have an underdeveloped rice production sector? Simple explanation---underdevelopment means money to the trader. When you deny the farmer the tools to modernize his ways, you deny him the chance to produce more to satisfy demand. When demands are unmet, government then decides to import. Importation means more money for the trader.

Sometime, government jacks up demand, and current supply cannot cope with demand, therefore, conditions justify for more imported rice to enter the market.

So, it is to the interest of unscrupulous traders and their accomplices in government to keep the Pinoy farmer impoverished and unsupported by latest technologies. The more the Pinoy farmer is unable to produce, the more likely to justify rice importation. Importation benefits a lot of people. It benefits Customs people whose hands are greased every single time the trader imports. Freight forwarders earn something from every importation and those in the hauling business likewise benefits. Members of the local police tapped to secure the shipment, also earn lots of money and so do delivery men.

So, you see, smuggling became a billion peso industry because many people depend on it.