El Niño prompts cut to palay, corn output forecasts

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THE Philippines has cut its grains production forecast for this year due to the adverse effects of the El Niño weather conditions and damage from typhoons.

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In a report, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said palay production could settle at 18.30 million metric tons (MT) this year, down by 3.54 percent compared to 18.97 million MT in 2014 as harvest area and yield dropped by 1.58 percent and 1.99 percent, respectively.

The forecast is also significantly lower than the 20 million MT palay production target set by the Department of Agriculture for this year.

“The downtrend was largely attributed to the adverse effects of the El Niño phenomenon and Typhoons Egay [international name: Linfa]and Ineng [international name: Goni]on the July-September 2015 crop,” PSA said.

The agency said the damage brought by Typhoon Lando [international name: Koppu]on standing palay and corn crops may reduce the expected output for the fourth quarter.

For the July-December 2015 palay cropping, production may reach 9.97 million MT, 5.81 percent below the 10.59 million MT output in 2014 as rice producing regions aside from Bicol Region reported reductions in production and harvest area.

“These were attributed to unrealized plantings as a result of delayed release and inadequate irrigation water, late occurrence of rains, and some areas left fallow; while typhoons Egay and Ineng caused damages in the production areas in CAR [Cordillera Administrative Region], Cagayan Valley and Western Visayas,” PSA said.

There were also reports of damage to palay farms due to pest infestation in the province of North Cotabato. On the other hand, the increase in the Bicol Region was due to the recovery of damaged areas caused by Typhoon Glenda [international name: Rammasun]last year.

The October-December 2015 forecasts, based on standing crop, indicate production of 7.42 million MT, 1.84 percent lower than the 7.56 million MT output in 2014 as drop in yield offset gains in expansion of harvest areas.

For the first quarter of 2016, PSA expects the palay sector to grow by 0.31 percent to 4.38 million MT from 4.37 million MT in 2015.

For corn, production for this year is forecast at 7.55 million MT, or 2.8 percent below the 2014 level of 7.77 million MT due to contraction in harvest area and lower yield.

The probable corn production of 4.17 million MT for July-December 2015 may be down by 2.76 percent, from the 4.29 million MT output in 2014.

To recall, the PSA said that corn output in July-September 2015 was pegged at 2.41 million MT, or 1.70 percent below the 2.45 million MT recorded in 2014, as most corn producing regions reported decreases in production.

In the CAR, the adverse effects of Typhoons Egay and Ineng brought down production,
harvest area and yield. The lower outputs in the Bicol Region, Western Visayas, Central Visayas and Caraga were due to contraction of harvest areas and reduction in yield due to insufficient water supply and hot weather condition during planting time.

In Western Visayas and Central Visayas, yields were affected by typhoons “Egay” and “Hannah” [international name: Soudelor].

On the other hand, the October-December 2015 forecasts, based on standing crop, point to lower production, harvest area and yield per hectare by 4.18 percent, 0.62 percent, and 3.58 percent from their respective levels in 2014.

Cagayan Valley, CALABARZON (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon], the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and Davao Region may post significant reductions in production and harvest area during this quarter.

The expected decline in output may be attributed to inadequate rainfall, shifting from corn to sugarcane and lack of capital resulting from losses in previous cropping.

The corn sector is expected to bounce back in January-March 2016 as production, based on farmers’ planting intentions, may increase by 0.48 percent from 2.37 million MT in 2015 to 2.38 million MT in 2016.

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