Palace still optimistic on rice self-sufficiency in 2013

by Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 05 2012 03:13 PM | Updated as of Sep 05 2012 11:13 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang remains confident that the Philippines is still on track in achieving its target to become self-sufficient in rice by 2013 despite the recent storms and flooding. 

Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the Department of Agriculture has given assistance to farmers whose crops were affected by recent storms. 

"Secretary Procy Alcala is very confident that we will attain rice self-sufficiency in 2013…Those farmers affected by the ‘habagat’ which happened very recently, they were already given assistance by the Department of Agriculture, they were given certified seeds and also they were given free insurance," Lacierda told reporters on Wednesday. 

"We will expect a harvest sometime in December on those planted after ‘habagat.’ So we are, and Secretary Alcala is very confident that we will attain rice self-sufficiency by 2013," he said.  

Lacierda said this optimism has taken into account all factors, including forthcoming storms.

The Palace was reacting to a Reuters report quoting an Asian Development Bank (ADB) economist as saying the Philippines is unlikely to meet its goal of becoming self-sufficient in rice by the end of 2013 because of poor farm infrastructure and high production costs.

"The target will not be accomplished," said Giap Minh Bui, a natural resources and agriculture economist in ADB's Southeast Asia Department. "It is the lack of productive infrastructure that are in operation."