Severe weather events cut palay output in ’15
Palay output was pegged at 18.15 million tons in 2015, lower by 4.3 percent compared to the previous year’s volume and by 10 percent against the goal.
Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed the Philippines harvested 18.97 million tons of palay in 2014 and hoped to produce 20.09 million tons the following year.
The PSA said the shortfalls were mainly due to heavy rains and strong winds in the northern part of the country and dry conditions in the south.
The worst effects of these extreme weather conditions were felt in the latter part of last year, during the main crop cycle.
In the fourth quarter alone, palay production decreased by 3.8 percent to 7.3 million tons.
“The adverse effects of Typhoon ‘Lando’ [which devastated farms last October] pulled down the palay production in Mt. Province, Apayao, Kalinga, Nueva Ecija, Aurora, Bulacan, Tarlac and Pampanga provinces,” the PSA said.
“The incidence of rice black bug, tungro (rice virus) and rodents, insufficiency of water during the crop’s vegetative stage and heavy rains with strong winds during the crop’s maturing stage resulted in lower palay production in Calabarzon,” the agency added.
Down south in the Caraga region, the PSA attributed the production decline to “extreme heat and unavailability of water supply.”
The prevailing strong El Niño peaked toward the end of 2015. The impact of the phenomenon is still being felt but is now tapering off and may be over by around mid-year.
Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala said in a statement Thursday his department would give more attention to livestock and poultry production since these were the least affected by inclement weather.
“All components of the [livestock] subsector recorded increases during the last quarter, when the other subsectors’ production dipped,” Alcala said.
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