“Planting rice is never fun, bent from morn ’til the set of sun” so goes an old Filipino planting song that Filipinos may have actually lived up to, to this very day, in which the Philippines already outshone all comers in rice importations including Mainland China.
Don’t ask but that’s true, unbelievably true because comparatively speaking China has a population of 1.3 billion while the Philippines only has 105 million.
The information is based on a report by the United States Department of Agriculture-Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA-FAS).
The Philippines, the USDA-FAS said, is about to breach the 3 million metric tons mark in rice importations which rose to about 58% this year compared to last year’s 1.9-M MT mark.
The increase in rice imports by PH was partly blamed on the implementation of Rice Tariffication Law last March but the real deal points to shrinking rice fields taken over by housing developments and dwindling interest by Filipinos in planting rice. It’s never really fun, actually.
In the past, the Philippines is a rice exporter, with its surplus making its way into Indochinese markets, such as Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, the United States and Europe.
Moreso, the Philippines funds the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), a well-known research organization dedicated towards expanding knowledge on creating rice breeds and hybrids to further increase production.
With corruption and government inability to modernize the rice industry, the sector shrank as many farmers lost their shirts and their enthusiasm to produce more. In the past, such shrinkage was a cause of concern.
Now, the farming sector is slowly being killed, unfortunately, with legislation spurred by big importer interests. (Mike Taboy/BENJIE CUARESMA/IAMIGO/CNS)