The National Food Authority (NFA) remains optimistic that the country will be able to attain its goal of being rice self-sufficient by next year.
In an interview with reporters Thursday, NFA spokesperson Rex Estoperez said infrastructure development and further expansion of irrigated areas are essential factors for food self-sufficiency.
“We are also praying that the country will have a favorable climate and will not be visited by destructive calamities next year so that our rice supply will be able to recover quickly,” Estoperez said.
Agriculture Undersecretary and National Rice Program Coordinator Dante de Lima earlier stated that the rice production for this year will decline by 3 to 4 percent because of the recent calamities that struck the country.
He reiterated, however, that the country was able to achieve 97 percent rice self-sufficiency this year, a significant improvement from the 82 percent recorded in 2010.
The Department of Agriculture is aiming to generate at least an additional 200,000 hectares of irrigated areas next year up to 2016 on top of the 1.5 million hectares that already exist and will be lobbying for an increase in the budget for irrigation next year. It is also promoting the cultivation of other staple crops to diversify the country’s food supply. PNA