DA: Rice production forecasted to reach 18.6 MMT for 2013

Manila, (PNA) — The country is expected to produce 18.6 million metric tons of rice for the year barring any adverse weather conditions in the country, according to the Department of Agriculture.

The Bureau of Agricultural Statistics has estimated a total production of 10.46 million metric tons, which is 3.1 percent more than last year’s output of 10.14 million metric tons, based on standing palay and crop intentions for the third and fourth quarter. This will make total annual production for 2013 to reach 18.45 MMT, 2.3% higher than the 18.03 MMT output in 2012.

In an interview, National Rice Program Coordinator Undersecretary Dante De Lima said that the country was able to produce 3 MMT for the third quarter. He is also optimistic that the projected fourth quarter harvest of 7.16 MMT will be surpassed by two percent or 143,200 MT.

“We expect that production will increase for the last quarter because of the delayed planting season in some areas due to the rainy season,” according to him.

Meanwhile, Secretary Proceso Alcala has reiterated that the country is self-sufficient in rice despite the lean months.

In his address during the grand harvest festival at M’lang, North Cotabato recently, Alcala reassured rice farmers that the current rice inventory is sufficient enough for the country’s requirements.

“I challenge our critics to visit the countryside and witness for themselves the record yield of our farmers,” according to the secretary.

Showcased in the harvest fest was part of more than 7,000 hectares planted to rice located in the municipalities of M’lang and Tulunan where M’lang houses two existing river irrigation systems namely: M’lang RIS and Malasila RIS which cover seven main irrigators’ associations.

He commended several M’lang Irrigators’ Associations (IAs) which have successfully increased their average palay harvests, ranging from 120 to 145 cavans (6 to 7.25 MT) per hectare. The country’s average palay harvest in 2012 was only 3.84 MT per hectare.

Secretary Alcala has provided P20-million worth of agriculture and infrastructure projects, and farm equipment and inputs to farmers’ groups and local government units during the event.