In its report last February 2008 or some time before the ongoing rage over the crisis in rice supply, the US Department of Agriculture came out with its report on the world’s top exporters and importers of rice.
No thanks to unbridled globalization, the conversion and destruction of agricultural land, the policy of encouraging farmers to instead plant “cash crops”, the policy of depending heavily on imports, and the continued lack of honest-to-goodness land reform, we are now the world’s biggest importer of rice.
Click here to get the USDA statistics which say that the Philippines has imported 1.9-M metric tons (MT) of rice as of Feb. 2008 or roughly 70 percent of the country’s import quota.
About 300,000 MT of rice imports separate us from Indonesia and Nigeria.
We beat bigger rice-consuming countries in importation simply because our country is not self-reliant in our food supply.
Not only is this a national shame for an agricultural country that was once known for being the region’s and the world’s top rice producers, but it is dangerous too. Dangerous because the government is addicted to imports in its attempts to ensure steady and sufficient supply of our national staple.