PH now 95% self-sufficient in rice supply

Bandera (Mindanao) - - NEWS -

THE country’s rice self-sufficiency ratio in 2016 improved to 95.01 percent from 88.93 percent in the previous year, a report from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed.

This meant local production accounted for 95.01 percent of the total rice supply in the local market.

This development resulted in further reduction in the country’s dependence on rice imports last year to 4.99 percent of total supply from 11.07 in 2015.

With a favorable trend in the country’s average r ice production per hectare, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pinol said the Department of Agriculture’s rice self-sufficiency target could be achieved in 2019, or a year earlier than its original time frame.

The DA is hoping to reach an average of 6 metric tons (MT) per hectare production or about 19 million MT of unmilled rice or palay per year from the current level of 4.38 MT per hectare per harvest.

However, the PSA said that despite the higher SSR ratio, the country’s annual per capita production in 2016 fell by 3.12 percent to 111.66 kilograms from the 2006 record of 115.35 kg which serves as the basis for the index.

This meant the farm sector was not able to produce enough of the commodity to keep in pace with the country’s population growth.

Pinol said the DA had been pushing for the planting of hybrid seeds to boost yield. The DA is expecting to cover about one million hectares for the program at an estimated cost of P15 billion while providing small farmers with easy access to credit.

The DA’s credit arm Agricultural Credit Policy Council was given a budget of P970 million for 2018.

Earlier this month, a United Nation’s market monitor reported that conditions for growing the staple in the country remained favorable despite the tightening of the global rice market.

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