The discussion about rice, nutrition and food security, and AEC 2015 held on the 9th of October in the NCAS Auditorium was discussed by V. Bruce J. Tolentino, Ph.D. – the deputy director-general of International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).
He started the discussion by comparing Philippines to Vietnam and Thailand by their birth rate. Apparently, the Philippines is better in producing babies than rice and that actually means that we have more mouths to feed. This may partially explain the question, why can’t the Philippines achieve self-sufficiency?
As said by the speaker, “Rice is still a normal good in the Philippines”, which means that as your profit grows, so does your consumption of rice. In addition, he also said that the poorer the country, the more they eat or like rice. We also need to take it in mind that there are other plant crops other than rice that should be harvested. The Philippines is 1/3 rice, 1/3 corn, and 1/3 coconut as said by the speaker. Most of the rice that we get or buy comes from Central Luzon, and based on statistics we have around 2.4 million Filipino farmers and the average farm size is 1.14 hectares.
Meanwhile, compared to other countries such as China, Japan, and Indonesia we have really low expenses that go to Agriculture which include the irrigation systems and other farm equipments. This shows that we haven’t prioritized Agriculture yet. Japan has the most yields compared to other countries since they invest in irrigation systems and the like. It also showed that Japan has the most use of fertilizers but their yield is very high, so we may say that fertilizers can help in yield growth although the data in the table is from year 1970-2009 only.