Commissioner of Agriculture, Rafael Alunan, gave a speech before the rice-production conferees. He said in part:
With the closing of the sources of imported rice and the disruption of the normal life in our rural districts, a situation already bad has been aggravated.
The country imports an annual average of 1,500,000 cavans of rice which is equivalent to 3,000,000 cavans of palay.
It behooves us therefore to give more intelligent thought and to take better coordinated steps to solve this important problem of food of our people.
We have held numerous conversations with the Japanese authorities and it was agreed to adopt a national program of rice production authorities of the rice-growing provinces to cooperate in the carrying out of such a program. Necessarily, the program of increased rice production involves the increased production also of other food crops.
The danger of a food shortage in view of the difficulty to import rice cannot be minimized. War has cut our overseas source of supply. We must depend on ourselves if we are to be saved. I hope the Commissioner of Agriculture, Rafael Alunan, and the Commissioner of the Interior, Jose Laurel, will exert every effort to increase the country’s rice production to a point commensurate with its consumption.
The campaign for increased rice production should not end with the Commissioner’s speech.