State-run National Food Authority (NFA) has instructed its regional offices to intensify palay (paddy or unmilled rice) procurement as major rice-producing provinces starts early harvest.
NFA Administrator Orlan Calayag said that rice farmers in Western and Eastern Visayas, Western and Southern Mindanao, and in Cagayan Valley have started the harvesting of their crops.
“We should start procurement as early as now to effectively capture a sizeable portion of the main crop for the country’s food security stocks,” Calayag said to all NFA regional managers.
Although the main crop harvest traditionally starts in September, some farmers who planted early have started harvesting as early as mid-August. This early harvest is expected to boost the country’s rice stocks, he added.
Bulk of the harvest from the rice production areas of Central Luzon, Southern Tagalog, Ilocos and Cagayan Valley regions will come in during the harvest months of September to November.
Based on the latest project of the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics, the National Rice Program expects palay production to reach 349,000 metric tons (MT) in July; 776,360 MT in August and 2.15 million MT in September.
As of August 13, the national rice inventory was recorded at 604,762 metric tons, or about 12 million bags.
Meanwhile, Calayag said that the NFA continues its market monitoring nationwide, adding that the public is encouraged to call the NFA at 455-0632 to report any observed price increases.
The early harvesting of palay is part of the government’s adjustment in the rice cropping schedules to help farmers in major rice-producing provinces to veer away from typhoon-prone months of September to October, and to ensure stable rice production.
The DA encouraged early cropping during the dry season to produce at least 47 percent of the target production for the year. The remaining volume was produced during the wet season and during the third cropping period.
The government is hoping to gradually increase the volume of palay produced during the dry season to 60 percent of the production target, while the remaining 40 percent of the annual requirement would be produced during the wet season and the third cropping period.
BAS earlier said that palay production is expected to increase in the second half of the year, because of expansions in harvest areas and better yield results from increased government interventions in all rice-producing regions.
It also said that probable palay production for July to December 2013 was at 10.46 million MT, or 3.1 percent higher than last year’s 10.14 million MT. Harvest area for the period may expand by 2.3 percent to 2.72 million hectares, from 2.65 million hectares in 2012. Yield may increase by 0.8 percent, from 3.82 MT to 3.85 MT each hectare.
In the first half of 2013, palay production reached almost 8 million MT, or 1.3 percent higher than the 7.9 million MT output in 2012.
Palay production for calendar year 2013 may reach 18.4 million MT, 2.3 percent higher than the 18 million MT output in 2012—attributable to the expansions in harvest areas and improvement in yield. However, this year’s total palay production remains lower than the 20 million MT target set by the National Rice Program.