Friday, March 28, 2008

Looming Rice Shortage

Department of Agriculture Sec. Arthur Yap raised the alarm on looming rice shortage. The country is considered an agricultural economy. If you ask the government or GMA for that matter, she would readily say that the government is doing everything to improve our agricultural production. I call it lip-service.

I happened to be in contact with farmers in various occasions in the past as non-government worker. I also visited some farmers in other farming communities in Caraga Region who still have the same problems - lack of production capital, landlessness, high cost farm inputs, the lack of marketing support and technical support. These problems are not new but the government has yet to squarely address them.

In addition to these aforementioned problems or factors, the land-use conversion - the topic of my cartoon - is also putting a lot of pressure on the agricultural production. Looming shortage in the supply of rice could be a result of reduced granary areas. Subdivision development and banana plantation expansion that continued unabated imperils our food security.

For instance, after long years as rice farmer, my father-in-law turned over his 3-hectare ricefarm for a banana growing arrangement last year. His reason was that rice farming was becoming unprofitable for him while there are so much income opportunities with banana growership.