DA hopeful PH can produce 20 million MT of palay despite El Niño threat


Banking on government measures to mitigate the impact of El Niño, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said it is hopeful that the country's agricultural sector can still produce 20 million metric tons (MT) of palay this year.

"Hopefully, kahit may El Niño pa rin tayo ngayon, sa pamamagitan ng ating mitigation measures ay kaya pa rin nating maabot 'yung 20 million metric tons [of palay] (Hopefully, even we are experiencing El Nino, we can still produce 20 million metric tons of palay through our mitigation measures)," Agriculture spokesperson Assistant Secretary Arnel de Mesa said in a radio interview on Friday, Jan. 26.

De Mesa said the agriculture department has its own group handling DA's water management interventions to mitigate the effects of the El Niño phenomenon.

The agency's primary water management interventions include distributions of small-scale irrigation projects and solar irrigation systems to areas in the tail-end of the irrigation systems and other areas having difficulty accessing water, the DA spokesperson said.

The agriculture department said it is also conducting information dissemination in El Niño affected areas.

According to the DA, Zamboanga Peninsula was the first place to report the effects of El Niño with more than 20 hectares of its land already affected.

De Mesa noted that the agriculture department is currently in the process of consolidating reports from other areas that have already experienced the effects of El Niño.

The Philippines imported 3.5 million MT of rice last year which is less than the 3.8 million MT imported in 2022, the official stated.