PRODUCTION of palay or unmilled rice, is expected to come in at 4.82 million metric tons (MT) during the first quarter, based estimates of the standing crop as of March 1, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said.

PSA’s projection, if borne out, would represent a 0.3% increase from the initial 4.8 million MT estimate issued on Jan. 1 and an 0.8% year from actual output a year earlier.

The PSA said that the estimated harvest area for the first quarter declined 0.1% year on year to 1.17 million hectares.

“Based on standing crop for the period… the yield per hectare of palay may increase to 4.10 MT or 1.0%,” it added.

It said that about 677.34 thousand hectares or 57.7% of the 1.17 million hectares planted to rice had been harvested as of Feb. 1, with the resulting palay output at 2.74 million MT.

About 91.2% of the crop yet to be harvested was in the maturing stage, while 8.8% was in the reproductive stage.

The Department of Agriculture has projected that palay production this year would exceed 20 million MT.

Meanwhile, corn output is estimated to rise 4.8% in the first quarter to 2.64 million MT, based on the standing crop as of March 1.

The area planted to corn is estimated to have risen 0.4% to 697.35 thousand hectares, while yields are expected to be flat at 3.79 MT per hectare.

The PSA said that about 59.3% or 413.48 thousand hectares of the standing crop had been harvested, producing about 1.42 million MT of corn.

“Of the total area of 283.86 thousand hectares standing corn yet to be harvested… 5.7% were at the reproductive stage and 94.3% were at the maturing stage,” the PSA said. — Adrian H. Halili