Is there an impending rice shortage ? Despite government assurances that there will be an adequate supply of this dietary staple, the indications are not good. President Arroyo said that although prices are bound to rise due to domestic and international factors, supply will be sufficient. Should we believe her ? Consider the following facts.
Senator Mar Roxas, himself a former trade secretary, identified three signs of an impending crisis—the country’s traditional rice sources such as Thailand and Vietnam could not commit to any volume, the price of rice has jumped sharply in the world market, and Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap has suggested that people cut their normal serving of rice from one cup to one half.
President Arroyo requested Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung to guarantee the Philippines up to 1.5 million metric tons of rice, in itself an unusual step. Is Vietnam in a position to deliver ? The Vietnamese government announced on Friday that it would cut rice exports by nearly a quarter this year. It hopes that keeping more rice inside the country would hold down prices for its own people. Read the rest of this entry »