Tuesday, April 12, 2011

National Intelligence report: Philippines at risk of rice crisis

A rice crisis looms in the Philippines according to a report prepared by the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA). A shortage in worldwide supply of rice along with rising costs of essential commodities in the country are seen to be possible future sources of domestic unrest, according to the report.

The Philippines depends heavily on imported rice to feed its population and is the biggest importer of rice in the world. A shortage in the supply of the national staple back in 2008 resulted in skyrocketing prices, long queues, national rationing, and often military intervention in the distribution of the commodity.

Ironically, the Philippines is home to the International Rice Research Institute and was once a major rice producer. Many scientists from around Asia once came to the Philippines to study ways to improve agricultural yields. Since then, despite government efforts to ramp up domestic production capability, the Philippines has slipped from being a net exporter of rice to a net importer today.

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