Press Release
March 30, 2008

Rice supply

Senator Edgardo J. Angara ,the chairman of the senate committee on agriculture, today said that the country is facing a rice distribution crisis that is being fanned by hoarders and unscrupulous traders that would immensely profit from the uncertainty over the country's rice supply situation.

Angara said that the supply problem can be corrected by 4 million metric tons of rice that would be harvested from local paddies in April and May and the two million commitment from Vietnam that will be shipped to the Philippines soon. "The summer harvest will start April and will last till May and this will be good for 4 million metric tons of rice.

The Vietnam commitment of 2 million will boost the rice stocks. Then, the harvest season will start again in October till November ,"said Angara. Angara said that the state of panic may be "artificial" and warned against imposing knee-jerk solutions to rice supply problem.

"There are hoarders and traders who are probably hyping up the minor problem of rice supply so they can profit from a state of panic and uncertainty," he said.

Angara said that a crash rice production program can immediately ease the current rice supply situation and this will yield positive results in a 120-day planting and harvesting cycle. "What we need are the following: hybrid seeds, adequate irrigation, a directed credit program and massive extension support," said Angara, who once served as secretary of agriculture. Angara said that Philippines can easily produce the needed 18 million metric tons needed to meet national demand. "The Philippines has a modern rice producing technology. With adequate support, farmers can readily step in and produce enough for our needs<" said Angara.

Angara said that the country has to produce its own needs as the global supply of rice has been shrinking.

Floods in many parts of Asia and a long drought in Australia have contributed to the global shortage, he said.

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