Why Export Rice When in Fact We Are Not Yet Self Sufficient?

First class meeting on Agricultural Economic subject. The very first topic was about rice. Are our rice reserve self sufficient? Or maybe we already have surplus that we were able to export fancy rice the second time ( as published on Department of Agriculture website).

Next were cumulative class opinions.

Exporting is bad if we are importing the same type of good in return. It is like selling the good caught tuna fish then buying some tuyong lawlaw for dinner. Well, it is understandable. It is not as bad as we think. Food is not the only thing we need to live in this world. We need clothes, shelter, daily supplies and some extra cash for other desires. Selling the tuna will allow us to buy less expensive foods plus extra cash to acquire other needs.

Fancy rice is like a tuna, expensive. Farmers opt to sell it… To worse extent, some are selling the unmilled palay then buy polished rice later.

National Food Authority (NFA) needs too assure the whole archipelago has enough rice for the whole three months. Importation is always an option whenever a shortage is foreseen. However, we are not sure if all these stuff go to masses or just left rotting on warehouse. News about rice spoilage in NFA warehouse flashed television screens, past years.

Artificial shortage is easily created whenever someone in a high ranking position needs to play. It seems there’s a huge amount involve. How it is laundered is unknown.

Rice is imported in two ways. The first one is the legal process and the second is thru back doors. Philippines has lot of it. It makes smuggling easy.

Philippines was really a rice giant. It had a wide land area for rice farming and still have plenty of stagnant lands. We used to export rice before. Several factors severely affected our status. The massive conversion of agricultural lands to industrial complex. We focused too much on building industrial processing plants that we left are farm areas behind. The aging farmer population. Many are not taking agricultural course. It is a dirty occupation. Those who took the course are also pursuing a white collar job. Visit a rice land and notice that only few farmers are working on it.

It is clear that we are not yet rice self sufficient. It will take a lot of time, discipline and determination to do it. We have the technology, a lot of it. The IRRI and PhilRice are here, doing their job compiling useful technologies.


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