One of the world's largest rice importers, the Philippines, is on a problem that is being described as ‘rice price crisis’ but I believe that this is experienced worldwide.
Yesterday I was saddened of the doubling of the rice price here in South Cotabato, where in a fact that our province is named as the rice granary of the country, where in the production of rice is very abundant and enough. I believe we don't have a food crisis but, rather, a rice price crisis.
We sell rice in our store in the subdivision and in my free time I help in playing as tindero in our store. Lately, I observed that mostly of our neighbor in the subdivision or even outside the subdivision purchase rice in our store and I always hear them complaining about how the rice price increase everyday but they were thankful because our store is selling good quality rice at and keeping a break-even price. My parents who run the store were not considering the profit they will get in this business as long as rice is available in a reachable price in our subdivision. You might say that this is unintelligent and stupid thing to do nowadays but mind you my parents were happy doing this.
I hope the prices would firm up to current levels and would not further increase within the period because there are many poor families out there who cannot eat anymore. I pray also that the government will be looking for more innovative solutions in the country--how to address not only the issue of supply but also the issue of prices.
Latest in the news, reports that, the government encourages Filipino farmers to produce more because it pays to produce food. Is this an indirect way to blame the farmers for the current rice situation? I guess there is no way that our farmers should be blamed for the current rice situation because the production is sufficient. One farmer here in the province told us that when they have their harvest, NFA would release stock of rice in the marker and in effect farmers would sell their rice at a low price but when there is no harvest, rice authority declares that rice is scarce. I would then wonder if it is scarce or stored.
But in a press briefing last week, Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap ticked off five critical reasons behind the current rice situation that our country is experiencing:
- A supply largely affected by an increased demand resulting from rising population.
- Climate change.
- Booming demand for biofuels.
- Continuous conversion of agricultural lands to non-agriculture use.
- Neglect of irrigation facilities.
And,” but there are solutions, and we can move forward from where we are today," he said.
Hope that this will be solved as soon because price of rice is hitting consumer pockets and stomachs.