Adequate rice supply, Duterte’s next biggest challenge
Apart from battling crime and corruption, president-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s next biggest challenge is to provide adequate rice for over 100 million countrymen, said Reuters in a report, May 26.
Local rice farmers and other neighboring Asian rice suppliers are all experiencing crop crisis due to drought brought by the El Nino phenomenon.
Any slight disruption in the rice supply in the country pose problems, especially since rice is a staple food for Filipino households.
Duterte, who campaigned on making food more accessible and affordable, plans to review and change policies on how the country purchases rice imports. With this, there are looming concerns on further delay of rice imports, Reuters reported.
Duterte admin aims to propagate self-sufficiency in rice supply in two years, said Peter Lavina, Duterte’s spokesperson, said on May 13. However, imports would still be allowed, until this is achieved.
He said that this year, they are planning to allow the state buyer to import an additional 500,000 tonnes and to arrange new deals with Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia.
Reuters said there are concerns that the incoming administration has insufficient time to safeguard rice stocks in the lean harvest season starting July, as the new government will not formally assume office until June 30.