Farmer group warns of looming rice crisis


A GROUP of farmers had issued a warning of a looming rice shortage brought by the impending El Niño phenomenon later this year.

According to Federation of Free Farmers (FFF) National Manager Raul Montemayor the farmers might have lower yields due to lower rainfall levels.

This in turn will affect the supply to be scarce or high in the market.

Montemayor explained that the El Niño, which will impact its heated effected on the second and third months of the wet season will affect the water supply which is vital for the growth of palay.

He also said that aside from the possible lower yields locally, the rice supply shortage will not be experienced in the Philippines but likewise internationally, as the El Niño may affect other Southeast Asian countries such as Vietnam, a major source of the Philippines’ rice imports.

“If it affects [the] whole ASEAN area, iyong supply ng bigas baka maapektuhan. Kukulangin ng supply, magmamahal sa international [market], parang rice crisis na naman. Hopefully hindi mangyari,” Montemayor said during a food security forum.

“If we are to rely [on] imports, iyong pumapasok na imported ngayon ay medyo mahal. (The imported rice coming into the country is quite expensive.) That also explains why palay price is going up. That’s another thing we have to watch out for—imports,” he added.

He said that there is an urgent need to plan and make sure to surpass the harvests for the lean months from July to September when rice production is low.

“May critical period na wala masyado production. Assuming makalusot tayo na ma-weather natin lean months, next problem natin next year,” he added.

Catherine R. Cueto

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