Stats agency cuts palay, corn output estimates for Q3

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THE Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) has downgraded its estimate for both unmilled rice and corn output in the third quarter but its new expected totals remain well above year-earlier levels.

In its updated crop forecast for the September round released Oct. 16, the statistics agency now thinks production of unmilled rice, or palay, will hit 3.38 million metric tons (MT) this year, down from the July forecast of 3.39 million MT. The estimate is 13.9% higher than the 2.97 million MT output from a year earlier.

The harvest area for rice may fall by 0.10% from the earlier projection.

The downward revision was attributed to rat infestation in Davao del Sur and South Cotabato; the incidence of rice black bugs in Batangas, Davao del Sur and Sultan Kudarat; the impact of typhoon Jolina on the crop in Isabela; flash floods Sultan Kudarat, South Cotabato and North Cotabato; and lower yields in Lanao del Sur.

As for planting intentions for the three months to December period, around 87.1% has been actually planted.

The Department of Agriculture is expecting a record palay harvest this year.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol told reporters on Wednesday that the crop is on track for a record performance on the back of a strong third quarter but stopped short of providing an estimate.

The agency earlier said it is targeting a 19 million MT yield for palay by end-2017.

This year’s target, if achieved, will mean 7.7% growth on the 17.63 million MT from 2016, and also exceed the record 18.97 million MT from 2014.

Palay is expected to reach a record high of 9.223 million metric tons, according to the August forecast of the PSA which has not released revised projections for full-year palay output. The level is higher by 9.06% from a year ago.

For corn, the country’s second staple, production may total 2.626 million MT, against the earlier forecast of 2.630 million MT. If realized, the total and may be 1.4% below than previous year’s level of 2.662 million.

Harvest area projections for corn were unchanged at 891,780 hectares.

The decrease in the estimate is due to flash floods in South Cotabato; strong winds during the vegetative and reproductive cycle coupled with locust infestations in Cebu; frequent rains during the vegetative stage in Quezon; rat infestation in Sarangani and South Cotabato; and the effects of typhoon Jolina in Cagayan, Isabela and Aurora and typhoon Fabian in Negros Oriental.

In terms of fourth quarter planting intentions for corn, 64.4% has been planted.

The PSA’s September 2017 round estimates represent the second revision since the August updates.

Data on farm output growth in the third quarter is others, is due for release on Nov. 15. — Janina C. Lim