TRAIN hits poor farmers most

By KIMBERLIE NGABIT-QUITASOL
www.nordis.net

BAGUIO CITY — Local Farmers will be among those who will suffer the most from the implementation of the new tax law, or the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN), according to Andres Wailan of the Alyansa dagiti Pesante iti Taeng Kordilyera (Apit Tako).

Wailan said apart from the increase in prices of basic commodities, farmers will also suffer from increase in prices of petroleum products and especially petroleum based farm inputs.

“We are currently in the thick of monitoring changes in prices of farm inputs but we are sure that there will be increase based on our experience in the past a slight increase in prices of petroleum products will impact farm inputs as well,” Wailan said.

Wailan added that for the first cropping which is from January to June, rice farmers will need more farm implements considering the land preparation needs.

It can be recalled that the new computation for excise tax and value added tax (VAT) for petroleum products under the TRAIN took effect last January 1.

Under TRAIN excise tax, gasoline will rise to P7 per liter from P4.35; P2.50 per liter for diesel; P3 per liter for kerosine; and P2.50 per liter on liquified petroleum gas (LPG).

New TRAIN rates applicable to consumers like VAT also took effect last January 1.

Agot Balanoy of the Bengeut Farmers Marketing Cooperative (BFMC) said that the increase in petroleum products will not affect the vegetable buying price much. She explained that vegetable price largely depends on supply and demand.

Balanoy said that even if the prices of farm inputs and transportation cost increase, farmers cannot just jack up their prices especially if there is an over supply.

“Like at the moment, there was a slight increase in vegetable prices due to the rains that has hindered the harvest of crops,” she said.

Balanoy said that cabbage and wombok for example was P6 to P8 per kilo earlier this week but is now P9 to P14 per kilo today, January 18. But when the other farmers harvest and bring in their produce, she said the prices will again drop.

But for traders, Balanoy said they can just pass on the additional transportation cost to the end market.

Benny Hipolito of the Benguet Trader and Truckers Association said that so far they have not seen increse in petroleum prices. But he said that should oil prices increase, truckers will automatically mark up vegetable prices to cope with the increase.

Hipolito said that for every P1 per liter inccrease in oil prices there will be P0.20 to P0.30 mark up for every kilo of vegetable.

Gil Ganado, president of the Benguet Truckers’ and Drivers’ Association said some drivers fear the impending increase in oil prices. He said that some drivers are just given a minimal budget by their employers for their travel expenses and they have a hard time stretching that budget even without the increases.

“But they can always talk to their employers if the increase happens and hopefully their employers would understand,” Ganado said. # nordis.net

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