Typhoon Ulysses, Rolly, and Quinta Destroyed So Much Rice That We Now Have to Import More in 2021
The onslaught of three consecutive typhoons has taken a toll on the Philippine agriculture industry, its crops, and most important, its farmers. The agricultural damage has jumped to P12.3 billion, 20 percent higher than the initial estimate of P10 billion. Of these, rice farmers and Philippine rice were hit the hardest, accounting for 39.2 percent of the damage.
Entire fields were left flattened, flooded, or simply destroyed by Typhoons Quinta, Rolly, and Ulysses, all of which worked in tandem to destroy eight days’ worth of rice consumption. It might seem small to consumers, but on the production side, this will impact not only our rice sufficiency and rice storages, but also the livelihoods of thousands of rice farmers.
According to Agriculture Secretary William Dar on ANC's Headstart, the country’s rice inventory still has enough to last us 82 days, starting on January 1 of next year. The inventory refers to rice stored by the National Food Authority, private sectors, and households.
Dar said that the Philippines was aiming to import only seven percent of all rice in 2021 as 93 percent can be produced in the country, but after the typhoon, that number is now up to 10 to 11 percent.
The department is planning massive crop planting in December should the worst of the typhoon season be behind us.
Natural disasters continue to plague agriculture and the economy as a whole, and unless a holistic and innovative approach is taken, the same crisis will occur every year. Dar notes the importance of reforestation and how this will also impact the flatlands and croplands where the food of all Filipinos is grown.