In the year 1972-73, the major rice growing areas of the Philippines were hit by the most severe flood in its history. Coming as it did in the wake of a vicious outbreak of the tungro disease in 1971-72 and a series of 28 typhoons in 1970-71, the new disaster shook the fragile foundations of the country's agricultural economy. 1 Rice was the staple diet of the people and the severe drop in rice production that followed these disasters resulted in imports of rice at high prices, for the first time since 1969. The rice shortage in 1972-73 was estimated at 7,00,000 tons, over 25 per cent of the production in the country during that year. The foreign exchange resources of the country were under severe strain and the procurement of large quantities of rice in international markets seemed difficult. It was against this background that in 1973 the Philippine government launched a new program to achieve self-sufficiency in rice. The program was called "Masagana-99". Masagana means "bountiful" in the local language. The number 99 signified the nominal target of 100 cavans (1 cavan = 44 kilograms) of rice per hectare that the program set out to achieve.