THE Philippines will not only be self-sufficient with rice beginning this year, it will also be ready to export the product again, the first time since the 1970s.
A Department of Agriculture (DA) official made the announcement Tuesday last week in Dagupan during the opening of the three-day Regional Agri-Fishery Trade Fair held at the CSI City Mall.
Eduardo Gonzales, regional technical director regulations and research of the DA Field Office, confirmed an earlier announcement by Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala and said a headway in production will allow the country to export rice this year.
Glutinous rice, also known as Basmati Rice and a more expensive variety than the ordinary white rice, will be will be marketed initially to the Middle East, specifically Dubai.
Gonzales said various technological innovations introduced in the farms enabled farmers to produce and harvest more.
The DA has also been distributing farm tools and machinery such as irrigation pumps, grass cutter tractors, and threshers, to farmers on an 85-to-15 percent cost-sharing basis.
EAT LESS RICE
Meanwhile, Gonzales said the government is launching a campaign urging Filipinos to eat less rice.
He pointed out that the “normal” rice consumption per person per year is supposed to be only 60 to 70 kilos but Filipinos have been averaging 120 kilos per year.
“It is either many of the Filipinos are overfeeding themselves with rice or that they are putting too much rice on the dining table that they can not consume and end as food for the animals,” Gonzales said.
He noted that there are alternative sources of carbohydrates needed by the body such as camote or sweet potato, banana, and cassava.
The agri-fishery trade fair, with the theme “Encouraging Product Enhancement Towards Global Competitiveness”, lasted until February 8 and was attended by producers from the Region 1 provinces of Pangasinan, La Union, Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte.