Philippines: Epicenter of Rice Crisis
Posted May 7, 2008on:
As I have already spread out in the first part of this post, there are many factors why the rice prices are going up, way up high. Personally, I believe that there is a rice shortage, unlike the statements of our government officials disputing the rice shortage as a myth.
The Philippines has been scrambling to boost stocks and supply cheap rice to the poor as rice prices soared to near-record levels in recent months amid increased demand, crop failures, a shift to biofuels production or other land uses, and poor investment in the farm sector. The Philippines imports about 10 percent of its domestic rice requirement. The problem with our culture system is that we always believe that we can buy rice in any country, at any price. But with the factors coming in, especially the population increase and effects of climate change, there are rice shortage looming.
The world’s rice producers (Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia) contributes to the global stock of rice, which currently in a dip lower than the usual average. The population of these countries are going high, therefore these countries needs more food on their own plate, before putting any on other’s plate. Which means that an even lower average of global stock.
The Philippines, meanwhile, needs to feed its population with almost 84 million hungry mouths. The problem is that we are not self-sufficient, we cannot fed our people with our own production. Now, why can’t the Philippines produced enough rice? Here are the issues:
1. Agriculture is not in the list of priority by the government. Which means, the government is putting less and less budget on agriculture. Plus! More and more people are corrupting in the agriculture body’s budget.
2. We do not have a backbone of natural irrigation. Unlike the other countries, we do not have even a proper artificial irrigation system. Therefore, we cannot produce higher yields of rice.
3. We do not use advance technology. Unlike Australia and other developed countries, we are still using time-tested agricultural system, which means lower rice production amounts, unlike with the usage of
technology, which tends to produce much higher amounts in smaller timeframe.
4. The archipelago has less land suitable for rice production than many of its Asian neighbors, and is buffeted by Pacific typhoons that frequently destroy rice paddies.
As we import more, the exporter countries takes an active step in putting a rice prices in record high, therefore triggering a world wide wave n rice prices that makes this a global problem.
Meanwhile, Thailand proposes a rice cartel OPEC-styled price control society which will have a big influence on rice prices. Much like the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries sets oil prices, the tentatively named Organization of Rice Exporting Countries would help set prices for rice. With the oil price rising so much, rice-exporter countries import expensive oil but sell rice very cheaply and that hurts trade balance, in favor of the OPEC members.
And now that the our neighboring countries take an active step in establishing an OPEC-style rice cartel, we are in die need of rice, so the only way out of this mess is to produce more rice, and produce them at rapid speed. But how? We will see.