Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Subsidize adaptive seed varieties to farmers in preparation for possible impact of Thailand flooding on world rice supply and price

Thailand may lose 6 million metric tons of unmilled rice as floods damage key plantation areas. This constitutes 40 percent of the normal Thai export, or 12 percent of total global exports. We must take preemptive steps to ensure we have steady supply to feed our people.

The DA must strategize in helping local farmers increase their yield by aggressive intervention. We call for massive modernization of the country’s rice mills.

We currently have 55 to 60 percent recovery. If we use more modern milling machines and increase recovery rate even by 5 percent, we won’t have to import rice. Comparatively, China and Thailand have 68 to 79 percent recovery. We must be proactive and our approach must be scientific in anticipation of disruptions in the world market. Depending on the adequacy of stocks in Cambodia, Vietnam and Burma, world prices of rice may go up again. We must engage in aggressive interventions now before prices skyrocket.

Increasing our yield is an imperative so that we do not find ourselves at the mercy of rice exporting nations as we secure the much needed supply of our basic staple.

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