By James Konstantin Galvez Reporter
The Philippines expects lower palay (unmilled rice) and corn production in the first half of the year because of movement of cropping to the first quarter, inadequate water supply, intense heat, and shifting to other crops that resulted in lower harvest area and yield.
In its latest forecast, the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Agricultural Statistics said that the January to June 2013 palay production may reach 7.879 million metric tons (MT), or 0.2-percent lower than the 2012 output of 7.892 million MT.
Earlier, the DA projected rough rice output for the first half of 2013 to break even from last year’s level of 7.89 million MT.
But because of the reported El Niño phenomenon, farmers were forced to shift cropping earlier in the first quarter of 2013, lowering available harvest area in the second quarter.
Palay production for January to March 2013 was pegged at 4.17 million MT, surpassing the 2012 output of 3.99 million MT by 4.5 percent. This was brought by the expansion in harvest area to 1.113 million hectares, or 3-percent higher than the 1.080 million hectares in 2012. The major contributors were Cagayan Valley (Region 2), Central Luzon (Region 3) and Soccsksargen (Region 12).
Based on standing crop, the April to June 2013 production is forecast at 3.709 million MT, 4.9-percent below the 2012 level of 3.90 million MT. Harvest area may contract by 2.3 percent to 934,000 hectares from 956,000 hectares in 2012. Yield a hectare is also expected to drop by 2.7 percent, from 4.08MT to 3.97MT.
Based on farmers’ planting intentions, the July to September 2013 palay production may be higher than the 2012 level of 3.597 million MT by 0.11 percent. This could be attributed to expansion in harvest area by 1.34 percent.
“Except in Cagayan Valley, Bicol Region [Region 5], CAR [Cordillera Administrative Region], Central Visayas [Region 7], Davao Region [Region 11] and Soccsksargen, farmers in the rest of the regions intend to increase their plantings for the third quarter harvests,” BAS said.
On the other hand, yield is expected to decrease by 1.2 percent to 3.75MT a hectare from 3.80MT a hectare, as majority of farmers are still apprehensive of the negative effects of the unpredictable weather conditions on palay crop, the agency added.
Lower corn output
For corn, production in January to June 2013 is expected to reach 3.329 million MT, or 4-percent lower than the 3.469 million MT output in 2012. Harvest area may also contract by 2.9 percent from 1.112 million hectares to 1.079 million hectares, while yield a hectare may also decrease by 1.1 percent from 3.12MT to 3.09MT.
In the first quarter of 2013, corn output increased by 11.4 percent to 2.248 million MT from 2.018 million MT a year ago. The increment was largely contributed by Cagayan Valley, whose output increased by 273,000 MT, or 57.4 percent from the 2012 level. Ilocos Region (Region 1), Soccsksargen, Central Luzon, Calabarzon (Region 4A) and Mimaropa (Region 4B) also contributed to the production increment.
Based on standing crop, BAS indicated decreases from last year’s production, harvest area, and yield by 25.5 percent, 18.4 percent and 8.8 percent, respectively.
“The movement of cropping from the second quarter to the first quarter in almost all regions to avoid the effects of extreme heat may contribute to the overall decrease,” the agency said.
It added that probable significant reductions were noted in Cagayan Valley, Ilocos Region, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and Western Visayas (Region 6).
Based on farmers’ planting intentions, the July to September 2013 corn output is expected to increase to 2.436 million MT from 2.431 million MT last year.
The minimal growth in output could be from farmers’ apprehension of unstable weather conditions that may affect corn yield. This was expressed by most farmers in Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon and Calabarzon, BAS said.