By Rick DaligdigThank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
As the country observes National Rice Awareness Month, several ideas come out on how to reduce the wastage of Filipino staple food on its table. The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) recommends the mandated serving of half rice in food establishments nationwide. According to their study, the rice wastage is equivalent to 10 grams per person or around 384,000 metric tons per year with a whooping estimated worth of Php 7 million and could feed 2.5 million Filipinos for a year.
The celebration is based on Proclamation 524 issued on January 5, 2004, by then-President Gloria Macapagal–Arroyo. This year’s theme “Be Riceponsible” is to increase public awareness of efforts to attain rice self-sufficiency and to address malnutrition and poverty. But how far does our government go to attain rice self-sufficiency?
In the latest Q3, Agriculture growth shrank by 0.3% a reversal of last year’s 1.6% growth but an improvement to last quarter’s 1.2% contraction. The Department of Agriculture set a target of 2.3-2.5% agricultural output this year.
In quarter 3 alone, Rice production losses at Php 3 Billion equivalent to an estimated volume of 279,289 metric tons (MT) with 250,174 hectares of affected farmland due to typhoons that devastated our country. The country also experienced skyrocketed prices of rice in the local market which makes it more difficult for other families to buy rice. Also, the campaign promises of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., of Php 20/kilo of rice is far from elusive as of this moment. Another challenge is the continuing downtrend of the rice sufficiency ratio of the country.
In 2022, it has dropped to 77% from 81.5% in 2021 and 85% in 2020. Although the President set a 97.4% rice self-sufficiency by the year 2028.
Good thing the President finally appointed a full-time Agri Chief in the person of Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. a business tycoon in the field of fisheries.
We wish the newly appointed secretary to do the work to the best of his capacity. We also encourage revisiting the Rice Tarification Law and making some amendments suitable for the need of time.
The National Food Authority(NFA) should give back the buying power so that they can able to sell more affordable rice in the market and become a market equalizer. Lawmakers must legislate a stricter law against agricultural smugglers that benefit from the importation policy of the government. Lastly, the food production value chain which the President always emphasizes should be executed ASAP! The help and assistance to the farmer must be consistent so that they will be encouraged to plant and not leave or sell their farmlands and be converted to subdivisions.
Every one of us is responsible for lessening the rice wastage. It is not just always the government that must do something, in our little ways we can contribute to achieving our goal of becoming a Rice self-sufficient nation. #DM