Written by the Web Team
Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), the country’s lead in rice research and development, maintains optimism that the country could be rice self-sufficient in 2013.
Dr. Flordeliza H. Bordey, PhilRice socio-economist, said the country was 92% rice self-sufficient in 2011 at current domestic rice prices while import dependency was reduced to 8% with about 800,000-900,000 mt of rice bought from other countries.
“Rice production in all rice ecosystems grew by more than 428,000 mt every year from 2000 to 2010. Opportunely, in 2010-2011, our production grew by 911,743 mt,” Bordey explained.
The country’s harvest area also increased to about 4.24%. According to Bordey, the country registered 47,773 ha growth per year from 2000-2011. In 2010-2011, harvest area jumped to 182,481 ha.
“So far, a large portion of the increase came from non-irrigated areas where harvest area is more dependent on weather. When the government’s interventions on irrigation will be fully implemented, irrigated areas will be the source of increase in production, thereby improving the reliability of supply and be less dependent on vagaries of weather,” she stressed.
Despite the increase in rice production, the program leader on Impact Evaluation, Policy Research and Advocacy said locally produced rice is yet to meet the nation’s rising demand.
In 2011, the country produced about 10.85M mt of rice. The total utilization in 2011 is estimated at 12.14M mt, if the utilization in 2010 was maintained and only the population increased. Given the volume of existing stocks in the economy, only 800,000 to 900,000 mt of rice was imported in 2011.
“The gap has narrowed though. [And consumers could lessen the gap by minimizing rice wastage]. Filipinos waste 9 g of cooked rice every day that when not wasted, could result in P5.3 billion import saving and could feed about 2 million hungry Filipinos in a year,” Bordey said.
Meanwhile, Dr. Eufemio T. Rasco Jr., PhilRice executive director, emphasized the need for rice self-sufficiency as food insecurity is a global phenomenon.
“Food miles or the distance that a food travels from the farm to the consumers’ plate are getting longer. Before, we import our rice from Vietnam and Thailand, now, [it gets farther] as we are importing from India.”
“Where will we buy our rice supply when [exports become less]? [If we are not self-sufficient], we will be dependent on others’ supply,” Rasco added.