CAGAYAN DE ORO

Luczon: A Song of rice and fire – 2

Pencalibur

IN 2015, the problem was about how El Niño affected rice production. It resulted into the dismay of farmers that prompted the Kidapawan onslaught. This year, it's a mixture of economic policy, taxation, and equal distribution.

It has yet to be confirmed though, but so far there were no major reports recently that rice farmers are having difficulties in planting and harvesting rice, except for the continuing land rights issues. So when the prices spiked to an impossible figures, and not to mention some rice reserves were infested with weevils, this can seriously have an implication to everyone.

Clearly, the Department of Agriculture (DA) and National Food Authority (NFA) (both are separate government agencies, by the way), are having their hands full on this rice crisis. Yes, it's not just an issue, but a crisis. You can't just dismiss it with a stunt.

It can be recalled in 2016, DA secretary Emmanuel "Manny" Piñol has published a book entitled "Feeding the Millions." It's supposed to contain President Rodrigo Duterte's plan about food security as a whole.

When Duterte kept on repeating "available and affordable food" for the Filipinos in his speeches, I decided to just concentrate on his thoughts on how to provide food for the 105 million Filipinos now and those who will be born in the years to come.

"Feeding Millions" is not a book of agricultural statistics. It is a book which defines the direction which Duterte would like to take in his dream of feeding his people once he becomes President.

He said this on his Facebook page, dated March 2, 2016. Two months away when Duterte was elected president. Maybe this was his ticket to be appointed as DA secretary later on.

Definitely, it's not in the book that inflation would cause rice prices to be affected, and the thought of dwindling rice supply. So what should we do about it? As long as the prices keep increasing, the more consumers become upset.

Rice is an integral component of every Filipinos' diet. It is a way of life. While some can compromise eating rice alternatives like corn, but most depends on rice.

Let us not wait for another Kidapawan scenario. If the reason behind are these rice smugglers, then all-talk-and-threats will never work.

Remember when Duterte was then mayor and testified before the senate on the matter of rice smuggling? Until now, we have to see the head of that smuggler Davidson Bangayan, of which has a reward to those who can give details of his whereabouts.


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