Inquirer Headlines: Nation

A World with Extreme Poverty is a World of Insecurity.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Dry spell impacts on poverty; cost of rice up to P1B

By Amy R. Remo
Last updated 05:21pm (Mla time) 08/09/2007

MANILA, Philippines -- Damage to rice from the dry spell may amount to between P600 million and P1.14 billion or about 200,000 to 400,000 metric tons, Agriculture Secretary Arthur C. Yap said Wednesday.

“The damage refers to the costs of planting rice and may still change depending on how the weather turns out,” Yap said.

He assured the public that rice supply remained stable.

“The supply needed for 2007 is in place. What we’re trying to assure is the supply of rice for 2008, which we are now augmenting through the quick-turnaround [planting] program,” he said.

He said that by this month, the National Food Authority would have around 800,000 metric tons of rice in its warehouses.

More than 127,000 hectares of farmland have withered in the northern third of the country after lower-than-normal rainfall in June and July, the Office of Civil Defense said.

Fishponds, too

Also devastated were some 41,000 hectares of fishponds.

Worst hit by the dry spell were the regions of Ilocos, Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog, Bicol and Cagayan Valley.

Besides destroying crops, the dry spell is hampering power generation, causing price increases that have hit the poor.


Dennis Arroyo, NEDA deputy director, said the government’s 6.1-percent economic growth target for 2007 remained in place, but warned a drought could cause food price inflation and worsen poverty.

Read the full report here.