Rice is the most important staple crop in the Philippines, providing food for more than 80 million people. Rice has been part of Filipino diet and life that I cannot imagine the Philippines without it.
With the looming rice crisis due to tightening supplies and soaring prices, we have reasons to be alarmed. A United Nations aid official already warned that more Filipinos will go hungry as rice prices soar.
However, Secretary Arthur Yap of Department of Agriculture assured that the country is not facing a food crisis and that consumers can expect enough supply of commodities this year, especially the staple—rice, the Manila Times reported.
The Philippine rice fields cannot produce enough rice the whole country needs. We have been importing rice.
Rice producing countries are reportedly tightening rice exports due to low production level in the past few months. It is expected that rice production in these countries will continue to decrease due to factors like unpredictable weather condition and the continuous land conversion to accommodate industrialization.
The issue of rice shortage is not new to the Filipinos.
The Philippines has several occasions of severe rice crises in the 20-year period Consumer International reported. Rice supply was short in 1984-1985, on precarious level in 1990, short again in 1995, then it started to drop sharply to negative levels up to the crisis in 1998-1999.
Rice shortage puts our country into danger zone. Extreme rice shortage encourages hoarding and smuggling. It results to more hungry and angry people. The revolution of the hungry is more threatening.
The Philippine government needs to strengthen the agriculture sector to assure that the country has sustainable food supply.
Blog I author (Bisaya): Ambot Lang!