Why rice self-sufficiency eludes us
For us Filipinos, our inability to achieve rice self-sufficiency is a stigma that hangs over our heads. After all, it was only a generation ago when the Philippines was one of the world’s most prolific rice producers and a net exporter of the commodity.
We were in the forefront of rice research what with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) headquartered in Los Baños, Laguna. Even today, IRRI is the global epicenter of rice technology. It provides seedlings, technologies and training not only to rice farmers in the Philippines but around the world.
The balance tipped in 1992 when local demand exceeded production. We’ve been operating at a deficit since and relying on imports from Vietnam and Thailand to fill the gap. We are famous for being the world’s top importer of rice despite having vast technologies at our disposal through IRRI.
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