PRODUCTION estimates for palay, or unmilled rice, in the first quarter were downgraded 0.8% from earlier projections to 4.25 million metric tons (MT), the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said.

In its updated Palay and Corn Estimates, the PSA said the previous estimate was 4.28 million MT issued on Jan. 1.

If realized, the new projection represents a 3.8% year on year decline from the first quarter of 2019, when output was 4.42 million MT.

The PSA said the land area from which rice was harvested could have declined 4.8% year on year during the quarter from 1,153.19 thousand hectares previously.

The yield per hectare is now estimated to increase to 3.87 MT from 3.83 MT a year earlier.

Meanwhile, corn production was estimated at 2.40 million MT during the quarter, 1.1% lower than the previous estimate of 2.43 million MT issued on Jan. 1.

The projection, if realized, would mean 0.9% year on year decline from the output of 2.43 million MT in the first quarter of 2019.

“Harvest area may reduce to 698.97 thousand hectares, from 706.26 thousand hectares in 2019. Yield per hectare may slightly increase to 3.44 metric tons from the 3.43 metric tons level in the previous year,” the PSA said.

Around 466.20 thousand hectares of updated standing crop have been harvested while farmers declared their intention to plant on 264.71 thousand hectares. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave