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News and Information

Rice Production, Supply, Imports, Exports and Consumption in the Philippines (1960-2014)

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.  

 

Rice Production, Supply, Imports, Exports  and Consumption in the Philippines (1960-2014)
Fig. 01. Rice Production, Supply, Imports, Exports and Consumption in the Philippines (1960-2014).

 

As part of the Ecosystem Sustainability project of Kalikasan-Philippines, we address the following issues:

  1. Is rice production keeping pace with the explosive population growth of the Philippines?
  2. What factors impact rice production?
  3. 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)

Historical and Projected Populations of the Philippines (1900-2150)

If the Philippines were a microcosm of the world, i.e., in terms of population density, the Philippines exceeded the much dreaded nine (9) billion world population [1] equivalent way back in 1950, when the Philippine population was 21.14 million (US Census). In 1950, the Philippines ranked 21st among countries in terms of population; but, its population of 21.14 million is equivalent to a 10.6 billion world population if the earth has a human population density like the Philippines.

Fast forward to 2014, the Philippines joined a very exclusive club of countries with a population exceeding 100 million. One hundred (100) million Filipinos living in the Philippines is equivalent to a world population of 50 billion. Staggering!

Historical and Projected Populations of the Philippines (1900-2150)
Fig. 01. Historical and Projected Populations of the Philippines (1900-2150). Legends: Pien/NSCB - this data (open red circle, light green trend line) includes a portion of the historical data compiled by Professor Pien (cited by NSCB) dating back all the way to the Spanish regime and pre-hispanic era.  However, the data before 1903 does not include other "native Filipinos". It also integrated the latest Philippine Statistics Agency (PSA) data that included the latest 2010 Philippine Census and the projected Philippine population up to 2045 (based on a medium assumption growth rate). US Census/CGC - The US Census population data and projects span from 1950-2050 (light green circle filled with yellow, dark blue trend line), for purposes of our sustainable ecosystem investigation this was extended further until the theoretical sigmoidal curve starts to plateau using the projected Philippine growth rate from the of the International Data Base database of the US Census  as a guideline but at the same time integrating the most recent data from the Philippine population census that the Philippine population growth has started to decelerate to a slightly slower growth rate. The other four projections (NSCB- CGC01 to CGC04) are hypothetical sigmoidal curve projection integrating the actual Philippine census data and the projections by the PSA and US Census.  NSCB/CGC01 -- (light green triangle filled with yellow,  red trend line).  NSCB/CGC02 -- (light violet circle filled with yellow, lift yellow trend line). NSCB/CGC03 -- (rust yellow-brown diamond, light blue trend line). NSCB/CGC04 (light blue inverted triangle filled with yellow, light yellow trend line).

What is even more significant is that the Philippines has the second highest growth rate [2] among the current twelve (12) countries with a population exceeding 100 million. It is almost boggling to comprehend that 200 million Filipinos living in the Philippines would be equivalent to a world with 100 billion human beings — more than ten times the much dreaded nine (9) billion world population[1]

Read more: Historical and Projected Populations of the Philippines (1900-2150)

Are there really more than 3 million hectares of irrigated rice fields in the Philippines?

PhilRice Graph (FAO)
Fig. 01. PhilRice Graph of lands used for rice cultivation.  The total irrigated lands used for rice production almost doubled while the total of unirrigated rice decreased from 1970-2010.

Fig. 01, showing lands used for rice cultivation, looks impressive. The rice yield cultivated in irrigated lands vs. rain-fed or upland fields may range from 4-6 tons - (ha-season)-1 vs. 1.5-2.5 tons - (ha-season)-1, respectively. Further, irrigated ricefields are used about 2-3 times each year, more than doubling the total rice production per year. In contrast, rainfed and upland farms used for  rice cultivation is used only once each year, when there is enough rain to flood the land throughout the duration of rice cultivation.

The National Irrigation Admistration (NIA) estimated about  1.68Mha of total irrigated lands -- out of the total 3.02Mha irrigable lands from the 9.67Mha total of agricultural lands in the Philippines (Fig. 02).  

If the NIA data is correct, the total irrigated lands used for rice production would even be lower than 1.68Mha since irrigation water is used also for high value crops and vegetables, animal husbandry and aquaculture.  And, if the NIA data is correct that the irrigated area used for rice production is just about half (or even less) of what is indicated in Fig. 01, it is  an ever better news. First, the rice yield per season is even higher (and closer to yield potential of the rice varieties used today). Second, if only 1.7Mha so far has been irrigated, then there are 1.4Mha of the total 3.1Mha irrigable land that can be irrigated.

Our own proposed projects will explore how to "irrigate" the remaining 8.0Mha of the 9.7Mha agricultural lands in the Philippines that remain unirrigated -- using techniques and technologies powered with sustainable energy sources that would be much less expensive construct and operate than conventional irrigation systems.

Read more: Are there really more than 3 million hectares of irrigated rice fields in the Philippines?

DENR: Restoration of 4 major river basins in full swing

Chico River
Chico River Photo copyright by Vincent Leterrier

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is embarking on a project to restore over a million hectares of watershed areas in four of the country’s major upper river basins.

The four river basins are Chico in the Cordillera Region, Wahig-Inabanga in Central Visayas, Bukidnon in Northern Mindanao, and Lake Danao Watershed in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Read more: DENR: Restoration of 4 major river basins in full swing