PhilStar: Rice in times of Crisis

“Super typhoon “Yolanda” that devastated the Philippines last November 8 has reportedly caused crop losses worth $110 million and inflicted damage to the agriculture sector of more than twice that figure. The preliminary estimates were culled from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report as of Tuesday, or 11 days after Yolanda (international name “Haiyan”) struck our country.

The United Nations’ food agency reported some 153,495 hectares of rice paddy, maize and other high value crops such as coconut, banana, and mango trees and vegetables have been destroyed by Haiyan. With this extent of damage, the FAO sees that the Philippines needs to increase its import rice by 20 percent next year to 1.2 million tons.

The National Food Authority (NFA) announced it would import up to 500,000 tons of rice from its neighboring countries, possibly before the end of the year to replenish stocks that continue to be depleted by the ongoing typhoon relief efforts. The FAO underscored the urgency of timely rehabilitation and provision of seeds and fertilizers to allow farmers to replant before the end of the sowing period to prevent supply shortage of damaged crops, especially rice being the staple of Filipinos.”

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