Philippine. Q1 rice output up 5.34%


Philippine rice production in the first quarter expanded by 5.34 percent to 4.14 million metric tons (MMT), from the 3.93 MMT recorded in the same period last year, according to the Department of Agriculture (DA).

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said the increase in production could be attributed to good weather and the use of high-yielding hybrid rice seeds.

“The country’s rice farmers harvested 210,668 metric tons [MT] more in the first quarter of 2017 than they did during the same period in 2016, according to the satellite and ground validated data provided by the Philippine Rice Satellite Monitoring [PRiSM],” Piñol said in his Facebook post over the weekend.

“According to the PRiSM satellite data, which were validated on the ground, a total of 4,142,960 MT was harvested from an area of 997,687 hectares in the first quarter, compared to only 3,932,292 MT, from a bigger area of 1,081,096 hectares during the same period in 2016,” he added.

PRiSM is an online database-system initiative between the DA and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) to support the DA’s national rice program by providing accurate and real-time monitoring data on the country’s rice production, according to the IRRI.

Citing Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) Executive Director Sailila E. Abdula, Piñol said the country’s average yield per hectare per harvest has breached 4 MT.

“Abdula also confirmed that for the first time in the history of rice farming, the country’s farmers posted a 4.15-MT average yield per hectare per harvest, breaking the previous average of only 3.9 MT per hectare,” he said.

“Higher rice production was achieved even with the destruction caused by Typhoon Nina in the Bicol region, which harvested only 159,611 MT from an area of 44,336 hectares out of the regional rice area of 101,000 hectares with a low average yield of 3.6 MT per hectare,” Piñol added.

Earlier, the DA chief said he expects a bumper rice harvest in the January-to-March period based on his “visual appreciation” during his trips around the country. Piñol visited central Mindanao, Iloilo, Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Quezon and Bicol.

“I am upbeat that we will have a bumper harvest this year, considering that we didn’t have any major typhoon, no rat infestation or outbreak of diseases,” Piñol said.

Citing data from PRiSM, Piñol said Central Luzon—comprised of Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac, Bulacan, Aurora, Zambales and Bataan—was the top rice-producing region, with the highest average yield pegged at 4.84 mt/hectare.

“The higher average yield in the Central Luzon area is credited mainly to the increasing number of farmers who are using hybrid-rice seeds,” he said.

“In Nueva Ecija, where almost 50 percent of the farmers are already using hybrid-rice seeds, the average yield per hectare is 6.09 MT,” he added.

Other top rice producers in terms of average yield were the Ilocos region (4.71 MT/hectare) and Davao region (4.55 MT/hectare), according to Piñol. Rice-producing regions that also breached the 4 MT/hectare-level were: Northern Mindanao (4.39 MT/hectare); the Cordillera Administrative Region (4.10 MT/hectare) and Zamboanga Peninsula (4.07 MT/hectare).

“All the other regions failed to breach the 4-MT average yield per hectare, including Western Visayas, which includes Iloilo province, where the national record yield of 16 MT per hectare was posted by a farmer in Pototan town who used hybrid-rice seeds,” Piñol said.

“The hybrid-rice seeds utilization among rice farmers in Western Visayas is only 10 percent,” he added.

Barring any major climatic disturbances, the DA chief said the country’s rice output would also be higher in the April-to-June period.


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