Growth in rough rice production this year will likely slow down because of the devastation caused by Super Typhoon Yolanda in the Central Philippines, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said on Monday.
In a press conference, Agriculture Undersecretary Dante Delima said that production in the palay sector is expected to increase 3 percent to 4 percent in 2013, lower than the 8.08-percent increase recorded a year ago.
Delima, who is also the National Rice Program coordinator, earlier said they expect growth rate in the rice sector to be at the same level from year’s production. In 2012, the Philippines produced some 18.03 million MT of rice.
“Previously, we thought that production will be flat for this year. But positive growth in Region 3 has pulled up palay production figures,” said Delima, noting that rough rice production in Central Luzon is expected to increase 1.5 percent in 2013.
For the next three years, the agriculture department expects organic growth in the palay sector to increase 4 percent to 5 percent annually, which is still lower than the 6-percent growth needed for the country to meet domestic demand for the staple grain.
“This is organic growth, based on normal interventions given by the government,” he said.
“This is still lower than the 6 percent needed to meet rice requirement of the country. That is why we will be reviewing and identifying other interventions needed to achieve the target,” he added.
To achieve growth target under the Food Staples Sufficiency Program, Delima said that the national government would have to invest more in irrigation, particularly in the generation of new irrigated areas.
James Konstantin Galvez