Phl eyed to be rice self-sufficient by 2014

Published by rudy Date posted on May 22, 2011
BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya, Philippines  – The country is expected to be self-sufficient in rice by 2014 because of good harvests that lessened rice importation, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said during his visit here last week.
Alcala was here Thursday to inspect the strawberry farm in Santa Fe town.
He said that under the present administration, the country has imported only 86,000 metric tons of rice, 214,000 MT less than the 300,000 MT which was expected to be imported.
“We proved that with a good harvest, there was no need to import additional rice. The good thing about this is that with another good harvest, we project that our rice imports will be even further lessened,” Alcala said.
The government targets to import only 500 metric tons of rice next year, provided that rice production remains good. “After that, after 2013, we will hopefully be self-sufficient (in rice production),” Alcala said.
Exploring opportunities
He also said the governments is exploring opportunities for rice export.
“We should be ready this early, since if we (become self-sufficient earlier) because of the interventions we are making, we will be able to identify where to export this extra rice,” Alcala said.
The country last achieved self-sufficiency in rice production and became a rice exporter under the Marcos administration in the 1970s.
Lower rice production
Rice production in the county deteriorated over the years because of the low buying price of palay, high cost of production, deteriorating irrigation facilities, debts shouldered by farmers, and climate change.
While in the province, Alcala also visited other agricultural projects.
Nueva Vizcaya, a mountainous province, is considered Cagayan Valley’s vegetable bowl. Neighboring province Isabela, meanwhile, is the leading corn producer in the country.
Alcala noted that when vegetable production slowed down in Benguet last year because of frost, Kapaya town in Nueva Ecija made up for the supply shortfall.  –Charlie Lagasca (The Philippine Star)

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