RICE self-sufficiency is expected to improve this year as more land is planted to rice and as fertilizer costs drop, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said on Monday.
“This year we are expecting it to rise. First, our area has grown; secondly, the cost of inputs has been greatly reduced, especially for fertilizer,” Agriculture Assistant Secretary and Spokesperson Arnel V. de Mesa told reporters on the sidelines of a forum.
“While our productivity is increasing, our population is also increasing,” he cautioned. “Compared to before we are now more than 110 million, (production) also needs to keep up.
Last year, Philippine’s rice self-sufficiency ratio (SSR) declined to 77% from 81.5% reported in 2021, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
Mr. De Mesa said 100% self-sufficiency in rice will be difficult to achieve in the next few years.
He said that the government is targeting 95% to 97% SSR for rice in the next few years.
President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. has said that he is seeking an “adequate” level of self-sufficiency in rice of 97.5% by 2028, calling this level sufficient to meet the country’s needs.
This was a downgrade from the DA’s Masagana Rice Program’s goal of 100% self-sufficiency by 2027.
The program aims to stabilize the supply of the staple grain at between 24.99 million metric tons (MT) and 26.86 million MT, in the process keeping the annual growth of rice prices at less than 1%. — Adrian H. Halili