PH rice self-sufficiency goal not attainable – ADB

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The lender says poor infrastructure will cost the Philippines its rice self-sufficiency goal

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines will miss its target of attaining rice self-sufficiency next year due to infrastructure constraints, according to the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

In an ADB Live Chat event, ADB Southeast Asia Department Natural Resources and Agriculture Economist Giap Minh Bui said investments in farm-related infrastructure have been lacking. He said this has made farming expensive in the country.

Giap said that rice prduction costs seem to be higher in the Philippines than in neighboring countries such as Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia, which are the world’s biggest rice exporters.

“No, the target will not be accomplished. It is the lack of productive infrastructure that are in operation,” Giap said in the live chat. “There has been insignificant private/household investment in on-farm productive infrastructure.”

Making agriculture profitable

ADB lead agriculture specialist Lourdes Adriano said if farm-to-market roads and storage facilities remain poor, farmers will continue losing a lot.

Adriano added that macroeconomic policies that involve government expenditures on production such as irrigation; market infrastructure such as roll-on, roll-off port facilities; as well as enabling policies for farming such as sea transport regulations will help make farming profitable. 

She added that if farmers have access to appropriate inputs such as fertilizer, technologies, and market information, farming can also become profitable.

This is crucial in the Philippines, given that a third of the poor are engaged in agriculture.

“Sea transport regulations in the Philippines are so prohibitive that it is less costly to transport corn from Thailand than from Mindanao, or enabling farmers to have the choice to produce crops that will generate them more income,” Adriano said. –

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