Palay and corn output to further decline
Dry spell casts gloomy outlook for future harvests.
The country’s palay and corn yields are seen declining in the first quarter of 2016 as the past typhoon, insufficient water supply for farming, and intense heat take its toll on major agricultural crops.
Edilberto M. de Luna, Agriculture assistant secretary for field operations, blamed the gloomier forecast on Typhoon Nona, which hit the country’s farming areas in December last year just as farmers replanted after Typhoon Lando.
He said the rehabilitation took place in January, so palay harvest will take place in April, adding that the damage was significant and hit Central Luzon and Cagayan Valley,
two of the biggest agricultural zones in the country.
The agency said that based on standing palay crop, “probable production in January-March 2016 will be 4.15 million metric tons, nearly 5 percent below the 4.368 million MT output in 2015.”
It forecasts a 6.5-percent slump in corn output to 2.214 million MT in the first quarter from 2.369 million MT a year earlier.
The new estimates were in stark contrast to the Agriculture department’s announcement late last year that rice and corn production could still go up despite reports that the El Niño phenomenon will be at its worst starting in February.
In its report, the PSA said reductions in palay production were expected in all regions except Eastern Visayas, Central Visayas, Calabarzon, Caraga and Davao.
In its report, the PSA said the January-March 2016 forecast on standing crop indicates cutbacks in production, harvest area and yield by 6.5 percent, 4.2 percent, and 2.4 percent from their respective levels in 2015.
In the the first half, the PSA expects palay production to drop by 1.48 percent to 8.2 million MT,
while corn output should also soften by 0.17 percent to 3.37 million MT.
Palay and corn accounted for 22 percent and 6.5 percent, respectively, of the value of the country’s agricultural production last year.