Written by the Web Team
The country is starting to resume its status as rice exporter.
After 40 years, the Philippines is a rice exporter again, and shipped 35 metric tons (MT) of the staple consisting of 15 MT of organic black rice and 20 MT of aromatic long grain rice to Dubai on May 6.
A ceremonial send-off for Philippine rice exports led by the Department of Agriculture was held at the Manila Harbor Center to mark that historic day. The last time the Philippines exported rice was in 1973.
The organic black rice was produced by farmers from Don Bosco Foundation for Sustainable Development, Inc. in North Cotabato, while the aromatic long grain Jasponica rice of SL Agritech was produced by farmers in Talavera, Nueva Ecija.
According to the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics, the country registered a 5.5% increase in rice production for the first quarter of this year.
With this progress in production, Agriculture Secretary Alcala is confident that the country can go beyond the initial 100 MT trial shipment target for this year.
DA-Rice Program Assistant Secretary Dante Delima added that by July, the country might achieve the 100-MT target shipment.
Two to three weeks from now, the Philippines is scheduled to ship organic black rice to The Netherlands. Also, the country has a purchase order for heirloom rice from Mountain Province to be shipped to the United States by October.
At this point, the country is close to achieving the main goal of the National Year of Rice, which is sustainable rice self-sufficiency beginning 2013.
According to Delima, the only challenge left for the Filipino farmers now is to sustain the rate of production to ensure that the Philippines has enough supply of the staple.