Friday, July 30, 2010

Post-SONA: The ‘Rice’ Musings

Everyone has probably heard all the talks about the recently delivered State of the Nation Address of President Noynoy Aquino. There is so much to think and ask about what the address contained, and I personally desire to embark on a piece-by-piece study of what he said. I am not a professional though; I’m not even in the field of politics and economics. But the mere fact that we are, in small or large ways, concerned with the way things go in the government and the society, we must at least make an effort to participate even in small discussions. This is the path that I chose, to rant about things in my blog, and I hope to improve on them as years go by.

Anyway, I was inevitably led back to my ‘Grain Headache’ Series in 2008 (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4) as I read through the SONA transcripts. To quote from the text:

Dumako naman po tayo sa pondo ng NFA.

Noong 2004: 117,000 metric tons ang pagkukulang ng supply ng Pilipinas. Ang binili nila, 900,000 metric tons. Kahit ulitin mo pa ng mahigit pitong beses ang pagkukulang, sobra pa rin ang binili nila.

Noong 2007: 589,000 metric tons ang pagkukulang ng supply sa Pilipinas. Ang binili nila, 1.827 million metric tons. Kahit ulitin mo pa ng mahigit tatlong beses ang pagkukulang, sobra na naman ang binili nila.

Ang masakit nito, dahil sobra-sobra ang binibili nila taun-taon, nabubulok lang pala sa mga kamalig ang bigas, kagaya ng nangyari noong 2008.

Hindi po ba krimen ito, na hinahayaan nilang mabulok ang bigas, sa kabila ng apat na milyong Pilipinong hindi kumakain ng tatlong beses sa isang araw?

Ang resulta nito, umabot na sa 171.6 billion pesos ang utang ng NFA noong Mayo ng taong ito.

I give credit to those intelligent workers at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) who have relayed their views that it is not the crisis that is the big deal, but the way the population booms exponentially in the country. Well then, so there was really shortage of rice in those years mentioned, noting that it was years under the regime of then President Gloria-Arroyo. Connecting it to year 2008 when I blogged about the country’s rice crisis, was it possible that the crisis that was amplified in the news in 2008 was the result of these over-purchase? that what was suppose to be consumed (and the supposed buffer stocks) was already spoiled by 2008? To quote from the last entry on the series: “…from him [the then DA secretary] I learned that we are in fact producing more rice than the foremost rice exporter Thailand…” Whether the over-purchase was local or foreign defies simple logic – what was the purpose of the overspending?

Indeed there is much to be explained and probed about the ‘rice situation’ in the country. In as much as we want to at least sweep the government of corruption, we shall inevitably crash into the monsters of our past. We will see in the coming months how the government will fare in this endeavor.

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