According to the reports, it has been indicated that the camp of Vice President Jejomar Binay claimed that the administration’s rice self-sufficiency program is a failure. However, Binay’s spokesperson Joey Salgado contradicted the claims of Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala. The Secretary Alcala claims the Philippines has been 96 percent rice self-sufficient starting with effect from 2010. In this regard it has been mentioned that the Philippines imported 1.787 MMT (million metric tons) of rice last year, the largest in the last five years. In 2014, it was also imported 1.7 MMT, as stated by Mr Salgado.
Further, Salgado recalled that in 2011, Alcala said that from being the top importer, the Philippines will be a top exporter in four years. According to the data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, it showed that rice production in 2015 reached 18.86 MMT only which is 1.22 MMT short of the 20.08 MMT target. It was also 0.6 percent lower than the 18.97 MMT output in 2014. Moreover, Salgado noted that the poorest Filipinos belong to the agriculture sector despite the Philippines being an agricultural country.
According to the Secretary Alcala’s thinking that our farmers who are starving and wallowing in poverty are ‘sexy’ is just another example of the insensitivity of this administration, not unlike their presidential candidate saying that the worsening traffic in Metro Manila was a sign of progress, as revealed by Salgado. However, in 2013, President Benigno Aquino III declared the National Year of Rice to intensify the campaign in achieving self-sufficiency. While, international organizations and agriculture economists warned that the goal is unattainable and even imprudent.