Having spent many years in the Philippines I still have not managed to get over the hurdle of eating rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner and everything in between. I also cannot understand why the stodgy rice is popular when there are far superior rice available.
The Philippines 100 million people devour rice so fast that the country often has to import rice to satisfy demand.
Rice Production in the Philippines In the Philippines, rice is grown on small family based farms with an average size varying from less than 0.5 to 4.0 ha, hence the ratio is small. The possibility of increasing planting areas is nearly exhausted. Yield increases have begun to slow as well. Added to that, the Philippines population is perhaps the fastest growing in the world. The Philippines has approximately 4.2 million ha of rice lands and produce about 11.2 million Metric Tons of milled rice, sufficient only for 90% of the population. There are at least five major provinces which produce rice as its major farm crop. Rice production in the Philippines has been rapidly growing since 1970’s until the early 1980’s when the country achieved self-sufficiency, having a surplus enabling the country to export a small amount. Going further, a study of farmers’ planting methods will show that about half of the country’s rice lands are still planted with the old rice varieties that produce only about 2.75 MT/hectare. The Philippines has so-called “Certified” and “Hybrid” seeds that yield 4.7 and 6.5 MT/hectare, respectively. The country’s supplier of hybrid seeds even claim that the actual average yield of his seeds is actually higher (8~10 MT/hectare) and there are even instances of exceptionally high yields that are reported by some farmers. According to the latest figures released by the Philippine Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS), the production of unmilled rice (palay) in the country have risen by 5.13 % to reach 3.94 million MT in the first quarter of the year on increased irrigation and seed supplies.
Rice Consumption in the Philippines Rice is the staple food in the Philippines, more important to the economy and to the people at a lower income levels, hence an important intervention point for promotion of agricultural development and alleviation of poverty. Rice is what many farmers grow, but it is also what nearly all consumers eat. In many cases, farmers have more flexibility to switch crops than consumers (especially poor ones) do to switch their staple food. Rice is considered a socially- and politically-sensitive commodity, and securing supply at whatever cost is paramount.
Rice is such an integral part of history and culture in the Philippines for many Filipinos. Noticeably, consumption increased from 2003 which is only 26,000 tonnes comparing now with the national daily consumption of the grain at 33,000 tonnes, accounting for 20 percent of the daily household budget, on an average, with each Filipino eating 115 kilograms, or more than two sacks a year. Apart from being the main source of carbohydrates, rice creates what anthropologists refer to as “the physiological sensation of satiety”. Rice is eaten by millions of poor consumers and grown by millions of poor farmers in the Philippines, and to ignore fairness and equity would strip the analysis of much of its value. For most Filipinos, no meal is complete without rice (David C. Dawe, et al, 2005). At this point, it produces only 90% of the rice demand and imports the remaining quantity from neighboring countries. Some 68 million Filipinos live on less than $2 a day, according to the National Statistics Office 2006 survey.
Even with all that info I still would prefer Jasmine rice.