Duterte: PH won't be rice self-sufficient during my term

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 12) — President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday conceded he doesn't think the country will become rice self-sufficient during his term despite his numerous directives to boost rice imports.

He wants to flood the market with rice to help ease the rising inflation rate.

"So we have to import, whether we like it or not and we have to plan. But frankly, I do not think that we will be rice-sufficient," he said in a press conference early Friday morning upon his arrival in Davao from the Southeast Asian leaders' gathering in Bali, Indonesia.

The Philippines is among the top producers of rice in the world, but Duterte said farmlands for palay have been producing rice, which only end up being exported.

He added the unpredictable weather caused by climate change has also affected rice planting.

The President admitted the agriculture sector is the "weakest link" in the economy. He said he expects Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol to look into the matter.

"I hope he will do his homework well in the years to come. As i have said in the cabinet meeting, I thought that problem would never confront me," Duterte said.