Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol is optimistic local palay production would meet the 20 million MT target despite El Niño which already damaged over P2 billion in crops.
Cesar Ramirez
Palay production on track despite El Niño
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - April 1, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The country’s palay (unhusked rice) production for 2019 is still expected to be at record-high, on track to reach 20 million metric tons despite the occurrence of the El Niño phenomenon.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol is optimistic local palay production would meet the 20 million MT target despite El Niño which already damaged over P2 billion in crops.

“We are still at 20.085 million MT. Our reported loss is only around 120,000 MT. This is still record-high and we would just have to adjust during the wet season,” Piñol told reporters.

Rice production last year which was projected at 19.4 million MT only reached 19.1 million MT following P20.7 billion losses due to typhoons equivalent to 900,000 MT.

The DA has been expecting to bounce back this year amid better rice production following added funds coming from the liberalization of the industry.

For the first quarter alone, palay production is decreasing by a minimal 0.1 percent to reach 4.62 million MT, lower than the expected production of the DA which is at 4.7 million MT.

Harvest area may contract by 3.3 percent from the 1.19 million hectares in 2018, but yield per hectare may increase to four MT from 3.87 metric tons in the previous year level.

About 19.8 percent of the updated standing crop of 1.15 million hectares have been harvested.

Further, Piñol said the DA continues to validate damage related to El Niño, saying agriculture damage has so far reached P1.5 billion and not the nearly P3 billion as earlier reported.

“We are not trying to downplay, we can’t do anything if that’s really the damage. But our last estimate is that it’s just about one percent of the national production,” Piñol said.

“There is an effect, but not that big. We are not saying it’s inaccurate, but we have to validate that because we will use it for the insurance payment,” he said.

The DA has already asked the field offices to validate the numbers coming from local government units.

“We have to understand, at this point in time, it is election, everybody wants to declare a state of calamity. It will give them access to their calamity funds,” Piñol said.

EL NIñO PALAY
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