Sunday, May 25, 2008

Rice self-sufficiency: Impossible to attain or to personally earn?

Early March, National Food Authority spokepersons have been saying that it is impossible for the Philippines to attain 100% rice sufficiency because of its topography. The country has no wide flat lands unlike China or Thailand. The only way to have sufficient rice on the Filipino table is to import. Which is also one of the Solomonic decisions of their president, Gloria Arroyo.

Okay. Granted. But look at this:


TOKYO--World leaders looking for ways to ease global food shortages may have found one answer in warehouses dotted around Japan where a rice mountain is standing idle.

The United States is considering relaxing a trade agreement between the world's two largest economies to allow Japan to sell imported US rice on the global market.

Tokyo is already preparing to ship 200,000 tonnes to the Philippines, but that is just a fraction of the 1.5 million tonnes of imported foreign rice that is stored in sacks piled high in air-conditioned government warehouses.

"We have a big stockpile of Japanese rice, so we can export rice for poor people worldwide to save their lives in an emergency," said Nobuhiro Suzuki, an agriculture professor at Tokyo University.

Rice, a staple food for the Japanese, was scarce following the end of World War II but as agricultural advances boosted global harvests, Japan erected barriers to protect its farmers.

Under pressure from heavyweight trading partners, Tokyo agreed in the early 1990s to open the door to a minimum amount of imports, and now accepts 770,000 tonnes of foreign rice every year.

To sell these stocks outside its domestic market, Japan is required to obtain approval from the exporting countries.

Vice farm minister Toshirou Shirasu told reporters last week that the government plans to respond to the Philippine request for rice "as quickly as possible" and would favorably consider other approaches.

Japan also announced Friday that it will send 20,000 tonnes of rice to developing countries in Africa and elsewhere from its stockpiles to help ease food shortages.

Japan is worse than the Philippines if topography is the issue. And the land of the rising sun was also worse than the pearl of the orient immediately after the second world war. But look at Japan today? And the Japanese are exporting rice? Helloeeeerrrr!!!!!????

If there are no reports that in every importation there are kickbacks and SOPS, and if there are no rumors that some of the Arroyos are into smuggling, I would have believed that the NFA is really an authority in what it is saying.

Kung sabagay, humans err. The sitting duck... err, president erred several times, too. First she said she will not run but she under-estimated her greed. So she ran and licked the saliva she splattered on the carabao dung in Pangasinan. And she called Garci and asked for an apology. And she admitted erring when she signed the contract with ZTE. So it's okay to err. Basta ba malaki ang kita... magkano ba tayo diyan, pre?

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