Warning on dependency on imported rice haunts Filipinos

April 23, 2020 at 4:43 am Leave a comment

By Mortz C. Ortigoza

M’LANG, Cotabato – A former executive of the Department of Agriculture echoed the warning of former Agriculture  Secretary Manny Piñol that the government against reliance on imported rice.

Former Executive Assistant Ferdinand “Bobong” Piñol said after Vietnam suspended its exportation of rice because of the dreaded Corona Virus Disease-19 (CONVID-19) pandemic, Cambodia and India stopped selling rice overseas because they were hampered by the lockdowns.

Due to the pressing demand, Thailand spiked the 5% broken white staple per ton to U. S $560 to $570, the highest in its inventory since April 2013, based on the news report of Business Recorder sent to this writer by  Piñol.

“The situation in Vietnam, India, and Cambodia have us prepared for the unexpected, so Thai rice prices are going up and up,” the news report cited.

“Where is anyone going to buy rice now if not from Thailand?”

 Cambodia said recently it will ban exports of white rice and paddy rice to ensure local food security during the corona virus pandemic.

But even as anticipation of demand ran high among Thai exporters and traders, they said they were afraid higher prices might discourage regular customers.

Thai prices jumped from $468-$495 per ton last week on speculation that the Philippines might have to import some rice from there to meet its target of 300,000 tons, traders said.

But later, the world’s top rice buyer, the Philippines, said it has secured Vietnam’s commitment for continuous supply of the staple.

The announcement came even as Vietnam banned signing new export contracts under a review to ensure domestic supplies are sufficient during the coronavirus outbreak.

“We are still waiting for the final decision from the prime minister to lift the ban so that we can resume rice shipments as domestic supplies are abundant,” a trader based in Ho Chi Minh City said.

Mindanao Development Authority Chief and Secretary Piñol scored the over dependence of the Philippines on rice from her neighboring countries which sell rice cheaper than our country.

“As things stand now, with the threat of skyrocketing prices of rice in the world market, we would end up paying more than if we had poured investments on our local food production program. We need to review our policies, especially when it comes to agriculture and fisheries investments and the sharing of the national financial pie. Giving Agriculture and Fisheries only P50-B while a dole-out program gets P140-B every year is a policy which needs to be reviewed. The Build, Build, Build Program must also shift its focus on rural and agricultural infrastructure rather than excavating and repaving still functional highways,” he posted at Facebook an article titled “ Let’s Grow Our Own Food; Foolish to Rely on Imports!”

He stressed that for the rice sufficiency program to materialize, the government must provide more irrigation facilities to paddy rice farmers, maximum utilization of research and development programs like the hybridization program and support for fertilization and credit.

Entry filed under: News.

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