Protecting PHL’s food security

Policy-makers have focused on rice production for decades due to the fact that it is the staple food of Filipinos. Among all the food crops consumed in the Philippines, rice tops the list. The annual per capita rice consumption of Filipinos is pegged at around 100 kilograms per year, which is why large tracts of land are devoted to the staple.

The bias for rice is evident in the annual budget of the Department of Agriculture as a huge chunk of the money goes to the rice sector. In recent years, the lion’s share of the budget for agriculture usually goes to the construction of new irrigation systems and rehabilitation of existing ones, as rice is a water-loving crop and many farmers in the country continue to rely on rainfall to irrigate their land. The country has more than 2 million rice farmers.

However, the inordinate focus on rice has effectively prevented other agricultural subsectors, which continue to play second fiddle to rice, from further increasing their GDP contribution. Other agricultural subsectors, such as livestock and poultry, had to make do with what little amount given to them to implement the necessary initiatives to boost their output. This oversight eventually led to the problems that are now hounding the local poultry and livestock subsectors and are posing a threat to the country’s food security.

 

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