• Palay, corn output growth short vs drought losses – PSA

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    The country’s palay and corn production is expected to post positive growth in the second half of the year but this may not be enough to offset losses due to the prolonged dry spell that hit the country late last year, the Philippines Statistics Authority (PSA) said on Wednesday.

    In its Rice and Corn Situation and Outlook-October Round, the PSA said that the July-December 2016 palay and corn production may post positive growth of 4.49 percent and 7.20 percent, respectively.

    However, the PSA said palay and corn outputs for calendar year 2016 may suffer setbacks of 1.30 percent and 3.39 percent, respectively, compared with their levels last year.

    “Palay production for January to December 2016 is forecast at 17.91 million MT (metric tons), 1.30 percent below the 2015 output of 18.15 million MT,” the PSA said, citing contraction in the harvest area.

    By comparison, palay and corn outputs for the six months to June 2016 were lower than their 2015 levels by 8.13 percent and 16.35 percent, respectively. The decline was mainly attributed to the contraction of harvest areas and lower yields as a result of the El Niño phenomenon.

    On the other hand, production during the second half of the year may reach 10.27 million MT, or 4.49 percent above the 9.83 million MT output in 2015 as the harvest area may increase, coupled with improvements in yield.

    Palay production for the third quarter alone grew by 16.35 percent to 2.97 million MT from 2.55 million in the year-earlier period.

    “Increments in production were noted in almost all regions except for the Cordillera Administrative Region, Central Visayas, Davao Region and NIR. These were attributed to the increase in harvest area due to the early occurrence of rain during the planting season; rehabilitation of irrigation canals particularly in Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon and Zamboanga Peninsula,” it said.

    The statistics agency also said that movement of harvest from the previous quarter to this quarter in Mindanao regions as a result of late planting due to dry spell/drought in the early part of 2016, showed yield per hectare escalated due to government interventions on high yielding technology adoption (HYTA) and distribution of high quality seeds (HQS).

    Meanwhile, the fourth quarter 2016 forecast based on standing crop indicates production of 7.30 million MT, 0.33 percent higher than the 7.28 million MT output a year earlier.

    “Probable increases in production are expected largely in Central Luzon, MIMAROPA and ARMM. Movements of harvest were noted in Central Luzon and MIMAROPA due to insufficient water supply experienced in the previous quarters,” the agency said.

    For corn, the PSA said that production for calendar year 2016 was forecast at 7.26 million MT, 3.39 percent below the 2015 level of 7.52 million MT as a result of a contraction in the harvest area.

    Probable corn production for the fourth quarter may rise by 7.20 percent to 4.44 million MT from the 4.14 million MT output recorded in the year-earlier period.

    The October-December 2016 forecasts based on standing crop point to higher production and yield per hectare by 2.44 percent and 4.85 percent from their respective levels in 2015.

    For the first quarter of 2017, production based on farmers’ planting intentions may increase by 18.23 percent, from 1.92 million MT in 2016 to 2.27 million MT in 2017, the PSA added.

    The January-March 2017 forecasts based on farmers’ planting intentions indicate an increase in production by 12.27 percent, from 3.93 million MT in 2016 to 4.42 million MT in 2017. The increment may come from the expansion in the harvest area by 7.35 percent and usage of high-yielding varieties of seeds, the PSA said.

    Earlier, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said that higher farm output, on the back of stronger production in the crop sub-sector, may ramp up growth in gross domestic product to 7 percent in the third quarter surpassing the expansion recorded in the second quarter and the year-earlier period.

    Stronger production in the crops sub-sector was a result of higher than expected palay and corn production, which grew by 5.24 percent in the third quarter of 2016 accounting for 45.63 percent of total agricultural output.

    NEDA Director General Ernesto Pernia has said the fourth quarter will continue to show farm output on the positive growth track, which should further bolster full-year growth in the overall economy.

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