THE PHILIPPINE Statistics Authority (PSA) has slashed its projections for third-quarter palay and corn production, citing a decline in harvest area particularly for unmilled rice.

Production of palay, or unmilled rice, is now estimated at 3.05 million metric tons (MMT), down 4.7% than the 3.2 MMT produced in July-September 2018, according to the PSA’s “Updates on July-September 2019 Palay and Corn Estimates.”

That estimate compares to the 3.06 MMT July projection.

PSA noted that “[h]arvest area may decline by 11.1% from 824,860 hectare level in 2018” while “[y]ield per hectare may increase to 4.15 MT from 3.88 MT.”

The government targets rice output this year at 20 MMT. Production of this staple totaled some 19.066 MMT last year, 1.1% less than the 19.276 MMT produced in 2017.

The PSA also said it expects corn production this quarter to settle at 2.76 MMT, compared to a 2.77MMT projection given in July, about a fourth bigger than the actual 2.2 MMT produced in July-September last year.

Harvest area may increase to 872,990 ha from 784,930 ha a year ago, while yield per hectare may rise to 3.16 MT from 2.81 MT.

The government targets corn production at 8.64 MMT for 2019. Last year, corn production reached 7.77 MMT, about 1.8% less than the 7.92 MMT produced in 2017.

Asked for comment, Rolando T. Dy, executive director of the University of Asia and the Pacific’s Center for Food and Agribusiness, said: “Third quarter is seasonally low season for rice, and peak for corn.” — Vincent Mariel P. Galang