PH needs more investments for rice R&D


Despite the Philippine government’s intense campaign towards rice self-sufficiency, investments to make the country’s yield more globally competitive are still not enough.

Economist Emmanuel Esguerra said there is still a need for the government to invest more in agricultural research and development (R&D) to achieve rice competitiveness.

To recall, after giving the agriculture sector a significant boost in the first half, the country’s main staples — palay and corn — are now expected to yield unprecedented production results by the end of this year, thanks to ample water supply and availability of planting materials.

The probable production of both palay and corn crops for July to December 2017 is now seen to rise to 6.76 percent and 6.11 percent, respectively.

For the entire calendar year, palay and corn outputs may even accelerate by 9.06 percent and 11.08 percent, respectively, compared with 2016 levels.

These projections came after these staples yielded impressive production in the first half of the year.

Despite higher yields, Esguerra pointed out that farmers across the country still struggle under the weight of high production cost.

He pointed out that producing rice in the Philippines is more expensive than in our neighboring exporting countries such as Vietnam and Thailand. Some of the factors that contribute to the higher cost of rice production include labor cost and machinery, low yield per hectare, and high marketing costs.

“High prices harm poor Filipino households more than anyone else. These households spend around 20 percent of their incomes on rice alone,” said Esguerra, who serves as a professor at the UP School of Economics (UPSE), said.


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