A new plan by the Philippines to boost food production and boost nutrition by introducing a tax on the price of food is part of a larger push to combat poverty and improve living standards.
The Philippine government has pledged to spend $10 billion this year on food security and other social programmes to help the Philippines reach its goal of feeding every Filipino by 2020.
The Philippines’ ambitious plan, unveiled on Wednesday, aims to provide 4.4 million tonnes of rice per month, about half of the nation’s annual rice production.
But the plan also includes a tax of 2.5% on rice sales, which is lower than what many other developing countries have introduced.
It also aims to boost consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, including tomatoes and lettuce, by encouraging more people to grow them.
“We need to feed our people to feed us,” Agriculture Secretary Carlos Garcia said in a statement.
“The Philippines has more than half a million hectares of land to support food production.
We have to grow the fruits and veggies to provide the right nutrition for the Philippines.”
To ensure our food security, we have to tax and regulate our agriculture and industry.
“The Philippines is the world’s second-largest rice producer, after China.
But its rice imports have declined to about half the level they were in the 1970s, due to a lack of rainfall, as well as a growing trade imbalance with China.
The plan also calls for the establishment of a food tax, which could raise as much as $50 million a year.
The move comes after the Philippine government in the past years introduced a levy on rice imports from other countries.
The measure was introduced in 2017 and was designed to discourage rice imports to the Philippines from countries like Brazil and Indonesia, who were already paying tariffs.
In 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte signed a law that raised the price on rice to a third of what it was a decade ago, and imposed a 10% duty on rice shipments from countries such as Indonesia, Vietnam and Japan.
But the Philippine Government has been struggling to implement the tax.
The latest measures come after years of mismanagement, including an economic crisis and a surge in illegal imports, according to the Philippine National Police.