The Philippines used to be regarded as the "rice bowl" of Asia, but today the islands are dependent on rice imports to meet the staple needs of its people. The cost of these imports is met by revenue raised by, among other cash crop commodities, exporting coconut and its derivatives. In theory, the international coconut trade provides stable and high revenue earnings for its producers, but according to Philippine government figures, 75 percent of coconut farmers live below the official poverty line. Increased pressures from the country's land-owning class has meant that traditional peasant land tenureship rights have been superseded by deeds of title held often by absentee landlords. In social terms the expansion of coconut exports has led to the impoverishment of small farmers who twenty years ago were able to secure a good living directly from the land.