Second of two parts
(Last Sept. 16, 2023, former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo spoke before the Golkar Institute of Indonesia, which is the Policy and Training Institute for Indonesia’s young and up-coming government leaders, established by the ruling Golkar Party. She spoke about “resilience on the issue of rice supply and prices.” GMA expounded on the strategies she employed in 2008 when the World confronted an International Rice Crisis, which underlie this resilience: “Ensuring Sufficient Rice Reserves and Boosting Domestic Production, Enhancing the Supply Chain and Addressing Its Limitations, Harnessing Science and Technology to Enhance the Supply Chain and Improve Risk Management, International Cooperation, and Maintaining a Strong Fiscal Space and Economic Stability.” Following are her delivered remarks.)
PHILIPPINES imposes rice price caps. Last August 31st, the Philippines imposed caps on rice prices through Executive Order 39, which mandated a maximum price ceiling of 72 US cents per kilo for regular milled rice and 79 US cents for well-milled rice.
History repeats itself. Now, back to 2007 and 2008, it seems that in July 2007, Vietnam restricted rice exports due to data that the volume of rice it contracted to export had equaled the total export plan for the whole year. India joined the ban in October 2007, and Vietnam banned exports in February 2008, leading to a global rice crisis.
Prices of fuel and grain skyrocketed then, with energy costs fueling edibles. Rice was exported at over $1,000 a ton in April 2008. The market frenzy over corn being used for ethanol escalated the prices of rice, wheat and corn. US corn reached $720 a bushel in June 2008, tracking wheat at over $1,000 in February that year. West Texas crude peaked at $140 a barrel in July 2008.
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With the surge in global grain prices, Philippine prices also rose, even though our rice harvest was the highest in the decade. The harvest had been boosted by hybrid varieties developed with my government’s funding. But as usual, the global price surge led to speculative hoarding.