Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Rice Shortage in Philippines

Philippine farmers warned Wednesday that the country was facing a serious rice supply crisis, as the government signed a deal to import rice from Vietnam to boost local reserves at a time of rising prices and shrinking global stocks.

"The traders will definitely take advantage of the limited supply, while the government will be dependent on the imported rice for its buffer stock," said Jimmy Tadeo from the National Rice Farmers' Council .

The Philippines consumes about 13.1 million tons of rice annually, most of which is grown domestically. But dwindling domestic production and corruption in the rice supply chain have created a recurrent shortfall of about 10 percent. The government has to purchase about 2.2 million tons from the international market every year, making the Philippines the world's biggest rice importer.

The government plans to increase local production by planting an additional 1.5 million acres of rice during the rainy season in the country's 10 poorest provinces and another 1.2 million acres in other provinces.

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