Wednesday, September 27, 2017

PH Rice Must Be More Competitive – PhilRice

Rice at Php 27 – Php31 per kilo. That is the price of Vietnamese and Thai imported rice without the Quantitative Restrictions imposed on it. This is a looming fact when the ASEAN economic integration eventually is implemented.

This will obviate efforts for national rice self-sufficiency and will further impoverish rice farmers in the country.

In order to do this, the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) disclosed that a national average of 6 metric tons (MT) per hectare must be the yield of Filipino rice farms with a cost of production of Php8.00 per kilo. 

Local current production costs are at the Php12.00 per kilo and yield per hectare is only at 6 MT.

 “With the ASEAN integration, the Philippines is confronted with a different economic scenario. Targeting rice self-sufficiency is no longer enough,” PhilRice senior socio-economist Flordeliza Bordey said.

It would entail strategic government intervention in the medium term to make the industry and Filipino farmers more competitive.

Higher yield per hectare and reduced production costs would result in higher revenues for Filipino farmers and sustainable rice farms.

“This scenario is favorable to consumers, especially for poor families, but this will have a negative impact on the income of rice farmers as lower prices of imported rice will also reduce the price of locally-produced rice,” Bordey said.

Financing for farmers at low-interest rates for farm inputs can be provided by the government and use of hybrid seeds with higher yields are recommended.

This will be complemented by more efficient marketing methods and more machine-intensive farming practices that will also be part of the government program.

 “Farmers who incur higher production costs and are farming in less favorable areas where it is more difficult to increase rice yields, may go out of the rice business,” Bordey said, emphasizing that the  government should provide safety nets.

Also, programs for farmers to plant crops that are more conducive to their geographical locations, livelihood trainings and diversified skills trainings will benefit the farmers.

PH Poultry Industry Recovering

The resiliency of the country’s poultry industry is now showing. This is despite the avian influenza outbreak in Pampanga last August 2017. 

This was disclosed by the Samahan ng Industriyan Agrikultura (SINAG) Chairperson Rosenda So. 

Citing that prices of poultry have returned to normal and that sales have been also normal.

The only factor left is that the sale of oversized chickens has yet to normalize. These were left in freezers during the crisis and that consumer behavior preferred chickens that never exceed 1 kilo. This was cited since it is more consumers prefer to buy those weighing 1 kilo due to budget constraints.

The poultry industry was hit by avian influenza that necessitated the quarantine of San Luis, Pampanga when 3 poultry farms registered 100% mortality in their farms due to the avian influenza epidemic.

This also resulted in the prohibition of shipping poultry from Luzon to other islands in the country. This resulted in the live weight of chicken being sold to as low as Php32.00 per kilo during the time.

The Department of Agriculture  9DA) and the Department of Health (DOH) quickly managed the outbreak and has prevented the spread of the epidemic.

It was also determined that the flu strain does not affect humans. But still, quarantine procedures were effected so as to prevent the spread of the outbreak.

In a show of support for the poultry industry, even President Rodrigo Duterte partook of chicken meals so as to assuage fears that poultry products are dangerous.

Nevertheless, 200,000 chickens, birds, and other fowls were culled in the affected areas. 


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