Rice and corn harvests to drop 8 percent in Q1
Rice and corn harvests are expected to drop in the first quarter by an average of 8 percent from last year due to the intense heat from the El Nino, the Philippine Statistics Authority said.
Because of the dry spell, palay production is estimated to drop to 4.07 million tons from earlier estimates of 4.15 million tons.
For corn, output is estimated at 2.11 million tons, or 4.8 percent lower than forecast.
Rice and corn crops are the most affected by the El Nino.
The Department of Agriculture estimated agricultural losses due to El Nino at P5.3 billion as of early March.
Palay yield is now expected to drop from 3.77 metric tons per hectare to 3.71 MT per ha.
Corn harvest is projected to decline from 3.23 MT per ha to 3.13 MT per ha.
The DA has allocated P979 million from its 2016 budget for El Nino mitigation measures.
It is also requesting for P2.1 billion more for cloud seeding operations, distribution of stress-tolerant seeds, pest surveillance, buffer of feeds stocking, distribution of veterinary drugs, dispersal and rehabilitation of fingerlings, use of open source pumps, and installation of solar and wind pump irrigation systems, among others.
At the Joint House Special Committees on Food Security and Climate Change, Thelma Cinco, head of the Impact Assessment and Applications Section of the PAGASA, said the 0.85 degree Celsius increase in global sea surface temperature since 1880 will affect food production.
Cinco said the Philippines will experience an average of 19 weather disturbances yearly especially during the last quarter of the 2016.