The Department of Agriculture (DA) expects another record palay (unmilled rice) production despite damage in rice areas in Central Philippines brought about by Super Typhoon Yolanda.
In an interview, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said that rough rice production for 2013 likely exceeded the 2012 level of 18.03 million metric tons (MT), citing initial reports from regional field units.
“Our palay production will definitely be higher compared to 2012 levels,” Alcala said.
Asked whether palay production will meet the requirement under the Food Staple Sufficiency Program (FSSP), Alcala said that the Department of Agriculture (DA) has yet to see the result of the quick turnaround program.
The Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) said that the Philippines needs 19.03 million MT to meet the per capita rice consumption of 114 kilograms, and 90-day buffer stock stipulated by the FSSP.
To recall, Agriculture Undersecretary Dante Delima said that the growth in the palay sector is expected to slow down to around 3 percent to 4 percent in 2013, lower than the 8.1-percent increase in 2012.
“Previously, we thought that production will be flat for this year. But positive growth in Region 3 [Central Luzon] has pulled up palay production figures,” said Delima, noting that rough rice production in Central Luzon is expected to increase 1.5 percent in 2013.
For the next three years, the DA expects organic growth in the palay sector to increase by 4 percent to 5 percent annually, which is still lower than the 6-percent growth needed for the country to meet domestic demand for the staple.
“This is organic growth, based on normal interventions given by the government,” Delima said.
“This is still lower than the 6 percent needed to meet rice requirement of the country. That is why we will be reviewing and identifying other interventions needed to achieve the target,” he added.