PH needs to boost rice yield and diversify import sources

PH needs to boost rice yield, diversify import sources, says Salceda

/ 03:01 PM January 05, 2024

MANILA, Philippines — Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda believes the Philippines can address inflation woes by diversifying its rice import sources and increasing local yield, as the staple food accounts for a huge part of every Filipino household’s expenses.

In a statement on Friday, Salceda said it is important to focus on rice as world prices are again seeing an uptick, if the government wants to improve from the inflation figures in 2023.

Salceda said this just after the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) announced that headline inflation rate for December 2023 eased to 3.9 percent, which brought the average for the entire 2023 to 6 percent.


“With rice, world prices are once again on the uptrend, we need to focus on import source diversification and increasing our domestic yield significantly. President Marcos has kept the tariff rates for non-Asean rice imports to 35 percent, from the usual 50 percent. This is a positive step,” he said.


“We must engage in solutions both on the domestic and diplomatic fronts. India has maintained its export controls, and there are expectations of a moderate El Niño this 2024. Rice prices on the world stage will continue to be pricey,” he added.

READ: PH December inflation eases to 3.9% 

Salceda, an economist by profession, explained that the government should find a way to increase yield despite the possible effects of El Niño, a phenomenon resulting in warmer oceanic temperatures which can lead to dry spells or droughts.

“On the domestic front, we must achieve another bumper crop this year – and that includes anticipating El Niño. Drought-resistant varieties must be made available where El Niño is expected to affect climate conditions,” the lawmaker, who heads the House committee on ways and means, said.

“Rice accounts for as much as one-fifth of household budgets. Keeping its price stable has significant implications on wages and economic growth. If we can right the price of rice, 2024 will be a good year for the economy,” he added.

Salceda said focus must be placed on rice because the prices of all other commodities have been placed under control, but rice remains volatile.


READ: Lower inflation reflects gov’t commitment to address rising prices — Romualdez 

“As I emphasized last month, the government must zero-in its efforts on rice, which has accelerated its inflation to 19.6 percent. All other commodity prices are under control. For example, the 12.2-percent inflation rate for fruits and nuts can be attributed to seasonal consumption during the Christmas season. The price increase on water, meanwhile, is subject to regulation… All other commodity prices are either in single-digit or negative inflation,” he noted.

“One diplomatic solution is to call on multilateral institutions like the ADB – stationed in the Philippines – to provide India and other rice-producing countries financing assistance to bridge their food subsidy needs; so that there is less political and economic pressure to keep exports limited. Again, the cause of the rice export ban in India has less to do with global rice supply and more with local rice prices in India, which have increased due to their substitution with wheat, which has been affected by the Russia-Ukraine conflict,” he added.

READ: Solons optimistic despite higher inflation for September: It will get better from here 

Lawmakers including Salceda and Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez have expressed optimism several times in 2023 that by 2024, inflation numbers would start to taper off.

Last October, Salceda said that despite headline inflation rates crawling up again in September, the outlook was optimistic that the situation would normalize soon.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

Salceda said back then that the figures for September — caused by price spikes in rice and oil products — would be the worst record for the “ber” months.

TAGS: importation, Inflation, rice prices

© Copyright 1997-2024 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.