By Business Mirror
Palay harvest this year to fall short of target of 17 MMT, says DA
Palay harvest for the whole of 2008 will be lower than the 17.3 million metric tons (MMT) targeted by the Department of Agriculture due to the high cost of chemical fertilizers.
In a report to Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap, the Ginintuang Masaganang Ani (GMA) Rice Program forecasted that paddy-rice production for 2008 could settle at 16.6 MMT.
The DA noted that palay yields were not as high as it originally projected for the period because of the 30-percent drop in the application of costly fertilizers during the wet or main cropping season, which led to a decline in the per-hectare yield of farmers.
So far, the DA noted that some 6.7 MMT of palay have already been harvested during the wet crop, which started in June this year.
Harvesting of palay for the wet season started as early as September.
Despite the decline in fertilzer use, GMA director Dr. Frisco Malabanan said the government has managed to offset potential production losses through a 7-percent expansion in the total area planted to palay during the wet cropping season.
Earlier, the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) said based on its October survey of standing palay crop, palay production for the fourth quarter will go down by 1.06 percent to 6.30 MMT due to a contraction in harvest areas, as well as the projected decline in yield per hectare.
BAS, an attached agency of the DA, also said the harvest area for palay will decline by 0.92 percent to 1.63 million hectares, from 1.65 million has. registered from October to December 2007.
Yield is also expected to decline to 3.86 tons per hectare, from 3.87 tons per hectare.
“The movement of harvests from the fourth quarter to the third quarter, the adverse effects of typhoons on standing palay crop and reduced fertilizer usage would bring down expected harvest area and yield for this quarter,” said BAS.
The continuous increase in the price of fertilizer resulted in a 30-percent decline in fertilizer use among farmers.
This is the single biggest reason behind the possible failure of the DA to reach its target of producing as much as 17.3 MMT of palay this year. BAS said palay production will still increase, but will only be at 16.89 MMT.
BAS, however, said palay production will recover in the first quarter of 2009. Based on farmers’ planting intentions, the January-to-March 2009 production will go up by 6.35 percent to 3.98 MMT.
Click here to increase the palay and rice harvest, so the Philippines can be food sufficient.