• Philippines 98-percent self-sufficient in rice

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    The Philippines is 98-percent self-sufficient in rice as of last year, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said on Thursday.

    In a memorandum to Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, Assistant Secretary Dante Delima, also the National Rice Program coordinator, said that the country’s improved rice sufficiency ratio was based on a study considering interplay of rice production, per capita consumption and population.

    Present statistics from other official sources show the country was only 94-percent sufficient in rice as of last year, based on a formula that considered palay (unmilled rice) production, imports and exports.

    Delima explained that the country’s rice self-sufficiency ratio was estimated by studying the relationship of rice supply, including beginning stock and net production in milled rice terms; over demand, which consisted of per capita rice consumption multiplied by the population, plus provision for buffer stock.

    The simplified ratio also considered a portion of palay produced to be immediately set aside for seeds, processing, feeds and wastes, unlike the old practice of deducting these provisions from the milled rice produced.

    “We need a simplified rice self-sufficiency ratio that can depict actual key result areas being contemplated in the Food Staples Sufficiency Program [FSSP] such as managing demand, minimizing rice wastage and easing the pressure on rice through the consumption of other food staples,” Delima explained in his memo to Alcala.

    For the year 2012, the country produced 18.03 million metric tons (MMT) of rice. In addition, the beginning inventory of rice was about 2.627MMT, according to the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics.

    Net palay production, after deducting a 10-percent allowance for other uses, was pegged at 16.227MMT. Of this number, milling recovery was computed at 65 percent, making the net production in milled rice terms equal to 10.547MMT.

    On the other hand, demand for rice was computed by multiplying per capita consumption, pegged at a conservative 119 kilograms per person, to the population estimated at 95.86 million for the year.

    Thus the supply of 13.174MMT is nearly enough to cover the demand of about 13.447MMT.

    “With this simplified formula, the National Rice Program is confident that a more realistic rice self-sufficiency ratio, which can reflect the actual situation on the ground, and can incorporate the impact of our various programs, advocacies and interventions,” Delima said.

    He stressed that the achievements made in the irrigation sector brought the Philippines closer to its self-sufficiency targets not only in rice, but also in other food staples.

    Sustained increase
    Over the past three years, the country saw an unprecedented increase in rice production, from 15.77MMT in 2010, to 16.68 MMT in 2011 and 18.03MMT last year. All these are well within the targets earlier set out by the FSSP, when it was prepared in the latter part of 2010 up to the earlier part of 2011.

    This year, the 20.04MMT production target for 2013 will translate to 13.03MMT of milled rice to meet the 11.23MMT of rice needed to feed the population.

    Delima said that the country saw unprecedented increase in rice production because of massive development in the rice ecosystem, particularly in previously nonirrigated areas.
    “Because of strong development in irrigation, we have record increase in harvested areas as well as yield,” Delima said.

    To attain its rice production target for this year, the DA encouraged early cropping during the dry season to produce at least 47 percent of the target production for the year. The remaining volume was produced during the wet season and during the third cropping period.

    With the good results produced by this cropping scheme, the DA will gradually increase the volume of palay produced during the dry season to 60 percent of the production target, while the remaining 40 percent of the annual palay requirement would be produced during the wet season and the third cropping period.

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