The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), in its latest forecast said that the country’s rice production in the first quarter may have expanded by 12.8 percent to 4.44 million metric tons (MMT), from 3.93 MMT recorded a year ago. This figure is consistent with the projection it made in February. “Palay (paddy) production for January-March 2017 may reach 4.44 MMT, 2.1 percent below the January 2017 round forecast of 4.53 MMT, but 12.8 percent higher than the previous year’s output of 3.93 MMT,” the report read. In the January round of its survey, titled “Rice and Corn Situation Outlook”, the PSA had said that the probable increase in first quarter rice output is due to the expansion in harvest area. The availability of irrigation water and the use of high-yielding rice varieties would also boost production.
However the PSA noted that continuous and heavy rainfall and strong winds affected the vegetative and reproductive stages of the crop and resulted in the decline in the rice production of Capiz, South Cotabato, Leyte, Compostela Valley, Bohol, Aurora, Aklan and Negros Oriental. The PSA added that the harvest area in the January-to-March period may contract by 0.9 percent to 1.15 million hectares from 1.16 million hectares as would the yield per hectare to 3.85 metric tons (MT) from 3.92 MT. The PSA noted that about 566,270 hectares of the standing crop have been harvested. As of March 1, about 93.1 percent, or almost 855,790 hectares, of the farmers’ planting efforts for the April-to-June period had materialized. “Of the 1.43-million-hectare standing palay crop, 19.8 percent were at vegetative stage; 47.0 percent at reproductive stage; and 33.2 percent at maturing stage,” the report read.