Los Angeles Times

In the Philippines, where 'rice is life,' a move to allow more imports signals change

BULACAN, Philippines - The Philippines has long touted the idea of self-sufficiency in rice, an essential staple here at the heart of every breakfast, lunch and dinner.

But rice growers like Efraen Serrano know that dream is falling further out of reach. The country's geography doesn't provide enough suitable land for the crop as the population swells. Urbanization and the pull to work in cities have reduced the number of farmers.

"More farms are being converted to factories and homes," said Serrano, who farms a five-acre family plot in Bulacan, a quickly urbanizing province north of Manila. "Nobody wants to buy land and use it to farm."

The 66-year-old

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