Two readily available ways to attain rice sufficiency
The Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization has predicted that palay production in the Philippines will reach a historic harvest of 18 million metric tons (mmt) in 2013 because of the increase in yield per hectare and in area planted to rice. Yet the projected 18 mmt of palay production is not enough to feed all the rice-eating Filipinos, that is why the government this year has to import 187,000 mt or roughly 3.5 million bags of rice from neighboring Asian countries. Meanwhile, the government has also to rely on smuggled rice to avert a rice shortage.
The government, through the National Food Authority, already has large warehouses near farmlands and a price support of P17 per kilo of clean and dry palay. Rice production in the Philippines is higher than in Thailand or Vietnam, on a per hectare basis. The problem is, there are more Filipinos eating rice than Thais or Vietnamese. One sure way for the Philippines to attain self-sufficiency in rice is for the government to expand the coverage of its irrigation systems in order to increase rice production, while raising its price support for palay to, say, P18 per kilo to encourage farmers to plant more palay on their lands.
Another way is to strictly implement the provision of Presidential Decree 1211 which mandates all millers to mill 10 percent of their palay into brown rice and the rest into regular milled rice.
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