Rice harvest declined by 100,000 MT in Q1 due to El Niño—DA


The rice harvest in the first quarter of the year declined by 100,000 metric tons (MT) due to the wrath of the El Nino phenomenon, the Department of Agriculture (DA) bared on Sunday, May 5.

But the agriculture department said this is not bothersome as this is only less than one percent of the DA’s 20.4 million MT target harvest this year, noting that importation can “easily” augment the loss.

“Bumaba nang bahagya ‘yung ating harvest noong first quarter by 100,000 metric tons. Pero ‘yun ay napakaliit, less than one percent. Kasi ‘yung ating harvest is 20.06 million MT last year (Our harvest decreased slightly in the first quarter by 100,000 metric tons. But that is very small, less than one percent. Because our harvest was 20.06 million MT last year),” Assistant Secretary Arnel de Mesa, the spokesperson of the DA, said in a radio interview.

“Inaasahan natin ngayong taon ay mga 20.4 million metric tons so ‘yung nawala ay napakaliit na bahagi, mga one percent lamang and can be easily augmented by importation natin, 1.6 million metric tons na ‘yung pumasok (We expect this year’s harvest to be about 20.4 million metric tons so what was lost is a very small part, only about one percent and can be easily augmented by our importation, 1.6 million metric tons that came in),” he went on.

De Mesa assured the public that the supply of the country’s primary staple is still enough.

“‘Yung ating supply ng bigas ay sapat pa hanggang sa ngayon bagamat may mga lugar pa apektado ng El Nino (Our supply of rice is still sufficient although there are still areas affected by El Nino),” he said.

Despite El Nino’s devastation to the country’s agriculture sector, De Mesa said the DA is expecting more harvest this year due to the distribution of more seed varieties and interventions from the government.

Damage to PH agri

On May 2, the agriculture department said El Niño damage to agriculture has swelled to P5.90 billion, affecting 113,585 farmers and fisherfolk.

The 12 regions affected are: Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, MIMAROPA, Bicol Region, Western Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Davao Region, and Soccsksargen.

Per the DA, the government has provided a total of P2.18 billion in interventions for devastated farmers and fisherfolk.