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The Philippines, which achieved 97-percent rice self-sufficiency last year, is now the Asia`s fastest rice producer after registering a 4.04 -percent average change improvement in milled rice production from 2010-2013.

Data from the World Market and Trade of the US Department of Agriculture showed that from 9.77 million metric tons of milled rice recorded in 2011, production increased to 10.99 million metric tons last year.

With the produce, the Philippines surpassed major rice exporters including  China and India, which showed an improvement of 1.55 and 3.77 percent, respectively. Thailand, a leading rice exporter, only posted a 0.39-percent change difference in milled rice production.

Tom Slayton, former editor of The Rice Trader and co-author of an article on how rice price crisis could be prevented from becoming a hunger crisis, noted that Philippines, considered a key importer in the world rice trade, posted zero imports that was maintained at 1.50 million metric tons during the last two years.

Bangladesh occurred a 0.25-change difference in imports from 2012 to 2013, while China, although one of the largest rice producers in the world, registered 0.10 difference.

Relating the world rice production data to regional rice industry integration in Asia, researchers Tin Htut Oo, Tim Maung Shwe, and Larry Wong said the “increasing private sector efforts in integrating increasingly ASEAN-wide modern farming and modern economic activities along agri-food supply chains and international trading networks could and should be harnessed and leveraged to complement and supplement on-going government efforts [towards food security in Asia].”

In a related development, the Philippine Rice Research Institute and International Rice Research Institute, an international independent research and training organization with headquarters in Los Baños, Laguna, recently signed a memorandum of agreement to collaborate on conducting researches and promoting technologies.

PhilRice and IRRI will also share information on researches conducted in the country, and provide intensive training among collaborators.

In a forum conducted in Muñoz, Nueva Ecija, Sec. Proceso J. Alcala of the Philippine Department of Agriculture recently assured the farmers and the public that his department will “work harder so that the rice that we’ll serve on our table will be planted and harvested in the country.”

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Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) is a government corporate entity attached to the Department of Agriculture created through Executive Order 1061 on 5 November 1985 (as amended) to help develop high-yielding and cost-reducing technologies so farmers can produce enough rice for all Filipinos.

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Philippine Rice Research Institute