PH’s rice production poised to exceed target amid gov’t hybrid push

Published June 25, 2021, 4:00 PM

by Madelaine B. Miraflor

After observing positive rice output over the last few months, the Philippines is poised to exceed targets in terms of the production of its main staple this year and next year amid the government’s push to boost the planting of hybrid rice.

In its latest report, the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) here in Manila (Post) raised its market year (MY) 21/22 forecast for Philippines’ milled rice production to 12.4 million metric tons (MT), up by 100,000 MT from its earlier forecast.

This is on the back of greater adoption of improved varieties through the government’s Hybrid Rice Program, Post said.

For MY 20/22, rice production for MY20/21 is also left unchanged at 8.4 million MT, on track with the latest Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) report, showing January to March 2021 paddy rice production at 4.6 million MT, 8.6 percent higher than the previous year’s level.

For this year, the Department of Agriculture (DA) targets to record paddy rice production between 19.7 million to 20.3 million MT. This is equivalent to 12.4 to 12.8 million MT milled production, with two percent growth targeted for the following year.

Post also maintained the current forecast for area harvested at 4.75 million hectares (HA) for MY 21/22, 50,000 HA lower than the previous year.

Improved yield is expected to offset lower area in MY21/22, boosted by renewed efforts by the DA’s Hybrid Rice Program.

On June 2, DA, through Memorandum Circular No. 11, emphasized the growing importance of hybrid rice in raising local production, particularly in areas that hybrid rice has shown at least 1 MT/HA yield advantage over inbred rice.

The General Appropriations Act of 2021 then allocated P15 billion ($315 million) to the Hybrid Rice Program, more than double last year’s approximately P7 billion ($147 million).

About 1.3 million HA are currently planted with hybrid rice, representing 27 percent of rice area planted and 36 percent higher than 2020’s level.

DA’s program will target 15 provinces that have demonstrated high yields with hybrid rice. Top-performing areas reach up to 12 MT/HA compared to the national average of 4 to 5 MT/HA.

Meanwhile, Post maintained the forecast of MY21/22 rice imports at 2.1 million MT, based on current trade in MY20/21.

The latest Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) data shows Philippine rice imports from January to May 2021 declined by 11.8 percent to 1.03 million MT from 1.16 million MT during the same period in 2020.

Vietnam remains the Philippines’ top import source, accounting for 91 percent of the total volume.