Roots of Asia's rice crisis
Tight supplies reflect population boom and neglect of farming.
By David Montero | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor
from the April 22, 2008 edition
BOHOL, Philippines - Gantallan Plorensio's farm is a paradox at the heart of Asia's growing rice crisis. The fields that get enough water have never been more productive, contributing to a 5 percent annual increase in rice production over the past two years.
"We have a lot of rice fields, but no irrigation," he says. "They're just sitting there."
As a regional rice crisis looms, threatening political instability and social unrest, the idle fields in Mr. Plorensio's village underscore a failure of policy and foresight repeated across the region: For decades, governments have been encouraging a boom in services and skyscrapers, but not the capacity to grow more rice. Financing in agriculture has stagnated, and fewer farmers are expected to produce more rice for exploding populations.
That neglect is one of the central causes of what some analysts call the "perfect storm" – including rising global oil prices, drought in Australia, and inclement weather – behind the rice crisis.
"It's a failure to recognize the importance of agriculture," says Duncan Macintosh, a spokesman for the International Rice Research Institute, based in Laguna, about 40 miles from Manila, the capital of the Philippines. "Agriculture is becoming a very unfashionable industry."
Philippines at the center of crisis
At the epicenter of the storm is the Philippines, the world's largest importer of rice. The island nation annually imports between 10 to 15 percent of its rice. But because global rice supplies are so tight – causing India, China, Cambodia, and Vietnam to restrict exports – the Philippines is having a hard time fulfilling an import order of around one million tons.
RLCC Comment: Proper priorities are out of wack, because the greedy, violent, and otherwise depraved rule the world.
Two things must be put forth to everyone. Firstly, people must curb their having so many children. I won't go into how. Of course, this will anger those who make their personal fortunes off stimulating as many as possible to have as much sex as possible, but I've said it. People must get a grip on their unbridled lusts of every kind. Secondly, priorities must be based upon what is needed by the whole human race, not just some. Abraham Maslow is not the end-all-be-all, but his hierarchy of needs is not useless. Humanity needs to see to the needs of every human being along the whole spectrum of that hierarchy and better than Maslow identified by magnitudes of order. That's Christianity.
We need to bring forth the Christian Commons (many Commons as one). When will you help, when it's too late? Read on, and help with something, please. I can't do it alone. I put everything I had into this already. I've taken on debt to be able to keep calling for the Christian Commons.