The Philippines is a sour loser when it comes to effective rice production in the country despite the presence of International Rice Research Institute and the Philippine Rice Research Institute both within its grasp and under its “disposal.”
Can we forget how in December of 2011, one and a half years after President Benigno Aquino III assumed office in June 2010, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala bragged that the days of the Philippines as a rice importer were over.
Back in November of the same year, P-Noy, expressed confidence that country could become a rice exporter during his term. It was the other way around until now.
With all media statements of Mr. Alcala that self-grown rice from the Philippines will find market in the world thus attaining self-sufficiency in rice satisfying the demand of the Filipinos and exporting the excess production soon enough.
Then again, Alcala said that at last, in 2013 rice self-sufficiency will be fulfilled, adding that by 2014 the country will start exporting. But, alas, it was only an offshoot of a glib tongue and not of actual result.
By 2014, the Aquino administration with ambitious eyes for surplus in rice production is still a total failure. There is no other accurate word to describe the current predicament, but a total disaster, and nothing more.
Instead of exporting to the world excess rice prodution which is not happening so soon but only in dreams of the administration and its officials, the country is now importing rice of 805,000 metric tons a year. That is more than double the previous 350,000 metric tons per year importation.
The main supplier of these staple Filipino food come from Vietnam and Thailand. These ASEAN countries studied modern rice production technology at the Philippine-hosted IRRI in Laguna. More ironic.
It is because of the huge demand from the Philippines that even the price of rice in the world market jacked up.
The increase of demand from the Philippines for imported rice is self-acknowledgement of the Aquino administration and his trusted grains production managers of the reality that the Philippines is still a long shot from exporting rice.