PSA adjusts Q2 palay yield forecast to 4.17 MMT

- By Jasper Emmanuel Y. Arcalas @jearcalas

THE Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) on Wednesday revised downward its forecast for the second quarter palay output, but the total estimate for first half harvest remains on-track to hit a record level.

The PSA said the estimated second quarter palay production, based on June 1 data, is at 4.17 million metric tons (MMT), which is 1.4 percent lower than its earlier estimate of 4.23 MMT using the April 1 figures.

The latest estimate is also slightly 1.65 percent lower than its 4.24 MMT forecast based on standing crops as of May 1.

Despite the contractio­n, the PSA pointed out that the projected palay harvest for April to June remains 1.2 percent higher than the 4.17 MMT recorded output in the same period of last year.

With the latest second quarter forecast, estimated first half palay production is now at 8.79 MMT, from earlier total of 8.87 MMT.

Despite the slight contractio­n, the volume of palay harvest for the first half is 4.89 percent higher than the 8.38 MMT recorded volume in the January-to-june period of last year.

Furthermor­e, if the 8.79 MMT forecast materializ­es, it will become the country’s largest palay production for the first half, erasing the 8.71 MMT record in 2018.

In the report, the PSA said estimated harvest area for the second quarter may decrease by 0.8 percent to 948,193 hectares from last year’s 955,840 hectares. However, average yield per hectare may increase to 4.4 MT from 4.32 MT in the same period of the previous year, the PSA added.

“About 830,120 hectares or 87.6 percent of the standing crop have been harvested,” the PSA said.

The Businessmi­rror first reported that first half palay production could reach record high due to the expansion in harvest area and yield. (Related story: https://businessmi­ palay-output-likely-reached-record-high-in-h1/)

“We have been working hard toward achieving this production growth. We hope we can do better this second semester,” Agricultur­e Secretary William D.

Dar told the Businessmi­rror via SMS last Sunday.

The Department of Agricultur­e (DA) expressed confidence that it would be able to achieve its target of producing 20.4 MMT of palay particular­ly if devastatin­g typhoons will not visit the country this year.

Government officials and experts attributed the increase in rice harvest to the rice competitiv­eness enhancemen­t fund (RCEF), which seeks to make Filipino planters competitiv­e against their counterpar­ts in Asean.

The Philippine­s produced a record 19.44 MMT of palay last year, which translates to a self-sufficienc­y level of 90 percent. This sufficienc­y level would rise to 95 percent if the government would be able to hit its production target for 2021, the DA said.

Due to the expected increase in rice production this year, the United States Department of Agricultur­e has projected that Philippine rice imports would decline by 14.28 percent to 2.1 MMT. Despite the contractio­n in volume, the Philippine­s would remain as the world’s second-biggest buyer of rice for the second consecutiv­e year.

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