THE government expects palay output to bounce back strongly in the first quarter of next year as the rainfall from Typhoon Lando (international name: Koppu) replenished dams and irrigation facilities, making it possible for farmers to plant palay earlier than usual.
This comes after a slump in output was recorded in the second half as a result of insufficient irrigation and rainfall.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) said earlier the rice sector suffered massively from unrealized plantings as a result of the delayed release and inadequate irrigation water, late occurrence of rains, and some areas that were left fallow.
The wet season should have started in mid-April, but instead came in June to July.
Damage caused by typhoons in major rice-producing areas had also contributed to production losses, amounting to more than 600,000 metric tons for the second half of 2015 alone.
“This year, our production forecast is 18.3 million MT, which already includes the projected damage due to El Niño and typhoons. Without these losses, we could have hit 19.5 million MT,” Agriculture Undersecretary Edilberto de Luna told reporters on the sidelines of the 2015 Makina Saka in Pasay City.
But with Typhoon Lando filling up dams and irrigation facilities now overflowing, De Luna said they expect harvest to rebound in the first quarter of 2016, noting that they have been actively meeting with farmers who wish to start planting palay early.
“Typhoon Lando was actually beneficial for the sector, giving us a window to conduct early planting. Also, production that will not be counted for 2015 will translate to next year’s harvest,” he said.
De Luna, who is also the concurrent National Rice Program director, said they would recommend to the El Niño Task Force an immediate review of production data.
He added that they are now eyeing about 92,000 hectares of palay areas available for planting before the year’s end.
Earlier, the National Water Resources Board assured Bulacan and Pampanga more water allocation from Angat Dam, which would enable interested farmers to plant for the dry season.
The agency has lifted its close-tap policy for non-domestic use as water level in Angat improved. This means that the water allocation of 15 cubic meters per second will be given to irrigation services for some 77,000 hectares of farmlands in Central Luzon.