ROUGH CUTS| Vested interest groups behind fake rice reports?

UNTIL such time that government investigators, may they be from the police, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), or the National Food Authority (NFA), will be able to come up with conclusive findings that there really is fake rice being surreptitiously peddled in Philippine markets, we are inclined to agree with the hunch of a Chinese friend of ours who is in the grains retailing business.

     According to this friend, it is very illogical for any businessman worth his salt, whether they are local or from other countries, to go into the manufacture of fake rice. He said why will grains businessmen go into the trouble of buying agriculture products other than rice to produce fake rice?

     Our friend argued that if we have to believe some statements initially released by probers on the examination of the alleged sample fake rice, the contents of the fake staple include sweet potatoes and some kind of plastic materials used as grains wrapper.

     This, he claims, is already very expensive because the perpetrator or perpetrators will have to procure sweet potatoes and perhaps other ingredients, have the same processed so that these can be transformed into rice-looking grains.

     Then, the so-called plastic materials will have to be processed also so that the grains will be wrapped in the process simulating the texture of rice. Now, our friend cautioned, that the so-called plastic wrappings definitely come with a price. And there is no doubt either, our grains businessman friend added, that the illegal endeavor is capital as well as labor intensive. Hence, he said, whoever will engage in the manufacture of that fake rice grains will certainly have to cough up more money in order to produce it.

     His assumption, which we are somehow convinced, is that there could be some groups that are expecting huge financial benefits out of the “disturbance” in the grains retailing business brought about by media reports of fake rice in the markets.

     Yes, we too, suspect that there really are people behind this fake rice who have succeeded in making suckers of the country’s gullible media sector.

     Thus, we believe that it is extremely important that the government agencies tasked to investigate the veracity of the emergence of fake rice in the markets are able to come up soonest with conclusive findings.

     The schemers could have already started playing with the fears of the Filipino consumers while laughing their way to the banks.


     What somehow strengthens our belief that the nationally disturbing fake rice grain reports are handiwork of some vested interests is an article we read in the Philippine Daily Inquirer Business Buzz series written by Daxim L. Lucas that was published last Wednesday, July 8.

     According to the Lucas article there is a pending bill in Congress that is seeking to totally ban aerial spraying as a method of applying chemicals and similar substances on agricultural crops. House Bill No. 3857 is sponsored by seven Partylist representatives who are apparently “influenced” by some non-government organization (NGO) environmentalists led by the National Task Force on Aerial Spray Ban, Lucas’ business buzz claims.

     The House bill, Lucas article said, is a “man-made threat hounding the banana industry” that thrives most in the Davao provinces. But according to Lucas’ article the Partylist lawmakers and their NGO supporters might not know it that they are being influenced by other business interests who are after the Philippines’ dominant share of the banana market in Japan.

   Lucas added in the Biz-Buzz article that the NGOs concerned are getting funding from the Netherlands-based development aid giving agency CordAid International, one of Europe’s largest. Lucas cited documents showing Netherlands policies to undermine banana producers world-wide but supports banana producers in former Netherlands (Dutch) colonies like Indonesia. It said that Netherlands’ interests are present in the export banana plantations in Indonesia’s Maluku Islands.

     The Lucas article said that the Philippines supplies 90 percent of the total banana imports of Japan. It asks the grim question as conclusion: Do we want to lose the market?

     Well, it appears that some lawmakers and self-styled environmentalists are willing to legally let go of the multi-billion dollar Japan market for our bananas exchange of huge lobby money disguised as development aid to pursue social causes.


Posted in Opinion