The Philippine Department of Agriculture (DA) said Wednesday that it is targeting to produce 59. 67 million metric tons (MMT) of unmilled rice in the next three years in a bid to attain rice self-sufficiency.
Agriculture Assistant Secretary and National Rice Program Director Edilberto de Luna said the DA will expand harvest area for rice as well as yield per hectare to boost output in the 2014 to 2016 period and wipe out imports.
This year, de Luna said the DA is targeting to produce 19.07 MMT of unmilled rice. In 2015, output is expected to reach 20.08 MMT. For 2016, the rice production target is set at 20.51 MMT.
De Luna issued the statement after Presidential Assistant for Food Security Francis Pangilinan said the Philippine government will no longer set a target date for attaining rice self sufficiency.
Pangilinan also told Reuters in an interview that the Philippines would need to import more rice from Vietnam this year to boost supply and bring down domestic prices.
Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala had targeted to wipe out rice imports and attain rice self-sufficiency for the Philippines in 2013. But strong typhoons such as typhoon Haiyan (local name: Yolanda) made it difficult for the Philippine government to achieve its rice self-sufficiency goal.
Last year, Philippine rice production reached 18.44 MMT, which translates to a "96 percent self-sufficiency."