IBON notes misleading rice data in SONA

The data on rice production cited by Pres. Benigno Aquino III in his second SONA are among the faulty facts and figures

The state of the nation address (SONA) on Monday reported growth in rice production and increasing rice productivity that did not happen, research group IBON noted. The data on rice production cited by Pres. Benigno Aquino III in his second SONA are among the faulty facts and figures that give a misleading picture of his administration’s accomplishments.

In the SONA that Pres. Aquino delivered in Filipino, he reported “a 15.6% increase in rice production last year” as well as an “increase in rice productivity”. However, according to data from the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS), palay production last year did not increase by 15.6% but actually fell 3.0% or by 494,098 metric tons – from 16.3 million metric tons in 2009 to 15.8 million metric tons in 2010. Rice productivity also did not increase but rather fell where palay yield dropped from 3.79 metric tons per hectare in 2009 to 3.64 metric tons per hectare in 2010.
This poor performance is also despite Pres. Aquino’s SONA report of irrigating “an additional 11,611 hectares of fields” aside from rehabilitating “near 212,000 hectares of land”. Indeed despite this the BAS actually reported a 90,805 metric ton drop in palay production in irrigated rice fields in 2010 from the year before.

The misleading reporting on the state of rice production stems from how the Aquino presidency is stretching the argument that doing away with the wang-wang culture and abuse of government power is the solution to the country’s deep socioeconomic ills. However, in the rice sector, as in the rest of the economy, difficult decisions and real political commitment are needed, said IBON. (end)

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