PH’s rice production to significantly increase in 2021

Published December 18, 2020, 1:30 PM

by Madelaine B. Miraflor

Even if a group of farmers in the Philippines said it may take a while for them to recover from Quinta, Rolly, and Ulysses, a foreign agency is convinced that these typhoons that struck the country last month will not have a significant impact on next year’s production.

“The recent typhoons were damaging to rice and corn but not enough to offset strong production in the first quarter of MY [market year] 20/21,” US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) here in Manila (Post) said in the latest Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report.

(MB file, Keith Bacongco)

In particular, Post’s forecast on PH’s milled rice production is up by 2.5 percent from 11.7 million metric tons (MT) to 12.0 million MT due to a strong first half of 2020.

“After a relatively quiet start to the typhoon season, the second quarter saw three [typhoons] reach the Philippines and damage rice areas during the traditionally largest rice-producing period,” Post said.

“Typhoons Quinta and Rolly caused about 120,000 MT in lost rice production, while Typhoon Ulysses was particularly damaging due to its path across high-producing Isabella and Cagayan provinces, with losses reaching 145,000 MT,” it added.

However, it noted that production losses in the second quarter are more than offset by the strong first quarter, with July to December production up 3.6 percent in MY20/21 compared to the previous year.

Post’s forecast came weeks after Federation of Free Farmers National Manager Raul Montemayor said that it will take four to five months for farmers to recover from the recent typhoons, especially in rice.

“Definitely, the typhoons will have a significant effect on production both now and in the next production cycle. It will take time for farmers to repair their dikes and farms before they can start planting again,” Montemayor said.

“And it is not only the crops that have been damaged, but also their houses, farm machineries, and other assets, and their other sources of income and livelihood,” he added.

The Philippines’ Department of Agriculture (DA) now estimates that total rough production from October to December 2020 will be down 1 percent from the previous year, reaching 7.4 million MT.

But for the calendar year 2021, DA is targeting 20.48 million MT production of palay or unhusked rice, six percent higher than what would be achieved in 2020.

The DA aims to boost production through better quality seeds, machinery, farm credit, and extension through the P10-billion Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF).

Moreover, DA has proposed P15.5 billion in its 2021 budget for providing rice farmers with seeds, fertilizer, farm equipment, training, irrigation, and research and development.

Because of this, Post also raised its forecast on area harvested for rice in MY20/21 from 4.55 million hectares to 4.65 million hectares.

The revised forecast results in 2.2 percent growth in area harvested in MY20/21 compared to 19/20.