DA receives no damage reports after typhoon, rains ‘beneficial’ — Piñol

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DA remains focused on rice sufficiency after NEDA favors high-value crops
A farmer checks rice plants at the International Rice Research Institute in Laguna. -- AFP

AGRICULTURE Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said no damage reports have been received following the transit of tropical storm Jolina (international name: Pakhar) through some of the country’s northern provinces.

“[T]he rains brought by Jolina proved to be beneficial to the farmers of the Cagayan Valley area,” Mr. Piñol said in a social media post.

Jolina made landfall in Casiguran, Aurora on Friday night, and left the Philippine Area of Responsibility on Saturday night.

Some areas including villages in Bataan, Aurora and parts of Metro Manila, were hit by floods due to heavy rains.

Although Jolina had been expected to cause significant crop damage due to its strength upon landfall, no damage has been reported so far.


Mr. Piñol said with the added rainfall he is hoping that the agriculture sector will be able to sustain output growth in the last quarter of the year.

“In all of the places I have been to recently, I saw robust standing rice crops, indicators of a bountiful harvest for Wet Season Planting,” said Mr. Piñol.

“A bountiful harvest towards the end of the year is expected to further narrow the rice supply gap which was last reported by the International Rice Research Institute to be between 500,000 to 800,000 metric tons.” he added. 

An increase in rice yields to 4.38 metric tons per hectare from 3.9 metric tons currently could make the country rice sufficient as early as 2019.

The Philippine Statistics Authority, in its August forecast, said output of unmilled rice, or palay, for the third quarter is expected to expand 14.14% year on year to 3.39 million tons and grow 6.76% to 10.65 million tons in the second half.

This puts probable palay production for the year at a record 19.22 million tons — up 9.06% from 2016 and exceeding the DA’s target of 19 million tons for this year.

To achieve rice self-sufficiency, the department estimates a need for full-year production of some 21.67 million metric tons of palay. — Janina C. Lim