By Jenina P. Ibañez, Reporter

The Agriculture department estimated the palay production loss due to recent typhoons reached 165,000 metric tons (MT), or two percent of the projected 8.4 million MT fourth quarter harvest this year.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) in a statement Friday said farmers in the major rice-producing regions were able to harvest a week or two early because of weather advisories. This saved P7.66 billion of palay and P1.31 billion worth of corn during Typhoon Quinta, and saved P16.99 worth of palay and P579 million worth of corn from Typhoon Rolly.

The 1.6 million MT of palay saved is 7% of the target total for 2020.

The department earlier this year had a target palay production of 20.34 million MT for 2020, based on its regular national rice program, rice competitiveness enhancement fund program, and rice resiliency project.

“With a two-percent loss in palay harvest, we could still realize a record output of about 20.175 million metric tons, which is seven percent more than our 2019 yield of 18.81 MMT,” Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar said.

Typhoon Rolly made landfall in Catanduanes in Bicol Region on Nov. 1, the region with the highest fatality rate. Typhoon Quinta had previously passed through Southern Luzon, including Bicol.

Agricultural damage for both typhoons cost over P5.51 billion in losses, DA reported Thursday.

Agriculture Undersecretary Rodolfo V. Vicerra said that subtracting losses from typhoons, palay harvest for 2020 would be projected at 13.1 million MT . This means there would be 91.5% rice adequacy level based on per capita consumption of 118.6 kilograms.

“Based on the trend over the past three quarters, we are confident that we will hit our palay production target this fourth quarter, thus increasing our rice adequacy from last year’s 87 percent,” he said.

He said that the country will have 90-days worth of rice inventory by year end.