Rice is the main staple food consumed of Filipinos -- the main food component for breakfast, lunch and supper. Rice is the main component also of many Filipino delicacies -- bibingka, suman, puto, nilapit, binallay, siopao, espasol, arroz caldo, etc. - eaten in between meals (merienda), during special occasions or as snack food.
As part of the Ecosystem Sustainability project of Kalikasan-Philippines, we address the following issues:
- Is rice production keeping pace with the explosive population growth of the Philippines?
- What factors impact rice production?
- In a separate discussion relevant to Ecosystem Sustainability, we ask the question: Are there really more than 3 million hectares of irrigated rice fields in the Philippines?
In this discussion, we focus on "Rice Production, Supply, Imports, Exports and Consumption in the Philippines". It is quite apparent from Fig. 01, that after 1994, the Philippines has relied increasingly on rice importation to supplement local rice production. Dependence on rice importation is very precarious because the world rice supply available for trade is very tight; many of the major rice producers are also the major consumers. Since rice is a temporary crop, other rice producing countries can readily shift to other major crops depending on the market prices of cereal crops and other traded crops.
Climate. Climate change and global warming, as well as the impact of El Niño and La Niña have affected rice production. The spikes in rice importation by the Philippines often are due to decreased rice production due to these climatic factors.
Technological challenges. Rice yield depends so much on water availability, which is major impediment during the dry season in areas where there is no irrigation. Post-harvest losses (PHL) is another major factor in reducing rice production. Addressing these technological challenges are among the major focus of Kalikasan-Philippines.
Agricultural land conversion. More than half of the arable lands used for temporary crops are devoted to rice production. However, because of the explosive population growth in the Philippines, agricultural lands conversion for use in other human activities have accelerated, especially near urban areas. This is especially critical in the National Capital Region (NCR) megalopolis -- comprising the regions of Metro Manila, CALABARZON and Central Luzon -- where more than 37% of 100 million Filipinos reside. Similar trends are observed in other regions throughout the Philippines.Read more: Rice Production, Supply, Imports, Exports and Consumption in the Philippines (1960-2014)