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“Substantial Losses” on Agriculture for 2015

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Palay and Corn production are expected to decrease this year due to the effects of El Niño and the recent typhoons that hit the country according to the Department of Agriculture. Agriculture assistant secretary for field operations Edilberto de Luna said on Friday that they expect “substantial losses” due to calamities.

Palay production could have reached 19.5 to 19.8 million MT (metric tons) or almost its target of 20.06 million MT if it hadn’t been for these calamities. For 2015, it is expected to decrease by 3.54 percent to 18.30 million MT while corn on the other hand could drop by 2.8 percent to 7.55 million MT. 12 percent of the country’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) come from Agriculture making palay and corn two of the largest contributors.

Despite these losses, the Department of Agriculture remains positive that by first quarter of 2016, palay and corn production will increase. De luna said that this forecast is possible and will be higher because farmers had anticipated that El Nino would intensify and that the National Irrigation Administration or NIA had released water to enable planting a month ahead of the usual Dec15 schedule.

If farmers plant in November, palay will mature in February, which would mean a big volume of water will not be needed even if El Niño will be at its worst at this time. P2.1 billion funding will be released this year to counter the effects of these calamities, De Luna added. This will be used for mitigating activities that include water management, repair of small scale water impounding facilities, procurement of seeds and cloud seeding operations.

Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said that palay production might reach 4.38 million MT in the first quarter of 2016, which is 0.31 percent higher compared to 4.37 million MT in the first quarter of 2015 while corn production is expected to increase by 0.48 percent year on year to 2.38 million MT.

Almost all regions expect increases in corn production especially in the Ilocos, Davao and Northern Mindanao regions same with South Cotabato region including Cotabato City, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos City, Alcala said.

Source: Manila Bulletin

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