As DA pushes rice self-sufficiency, ADB draws flak



Sept. 4, 2012


Amid the confidence of the Department of Agriculture that the Philippines can achieve rice self-sufficiency by next year, critics continue to cast doubts on the country’s capacity to hit such a target.


“I don’t care if they believe me or not; as long as I see that the country’s rice importation has decreased and that the supply and price in our local market are stabilized, nobody can dictate us on the prices of our commodities,” said Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala. 


“At the end of the day, we need to look into the global demand, whether it is increasing or not. Why should we import when we can be the one exporting the goods?” he added.


Meanwhile, the DA chief was joined by farmers and non-government organizations in criticizing the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for recommending to the government importing rice from ASEAN producers rather than pursuing self-sufficiency.


The National Rice Farmers Council and Rice Watch and Action Network (R1) commended Alcala and stood for the Filipino farmers’ welfare and livelihood rather than giving in to pressure from foreign interests.


“We find this analysis of Lourdes Adriano of the ADB shortsighted and very treacherous for small and poor Filipino farmers, particularly because she is a fellow Filipino. Let us remind Adriano and the ADB that our rice exporter neighbors strived for rice self-sufficiency and developed their local rice industry first before they reached their current status,” said Jaime Tadeo, spokesperson of the National Rice Farmers Council.


Meanwhile, Aurora Regalado, R1 convenor, raised the problem of increasing prices of rice from the United States.


Reports from US Rice Outlook of the US Department of Agriculture said rice prices increased over the past month, partly due to stronger prices of other grains caused by the US drought.








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