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DA Confident Of Target Rice Production Despite Destructive La Niña

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DA Confident Of Target Rice Production Despite Destructive La Niña

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The Department of Agriculture (DA) remains optimistic of meeting its target rice production despite a “more destructive” La Niña looming in the country.

The DA has earlier projected around 20.4 million metric tons (MT) of production for the year, higher than last year’s 20.06 MT.

In an interview, DA Assistant Secretary Arnel de Mesa said that although higher agricultural damage may be incurred due to typhoons and flooding, losses may still fall within 500,000 MT to 600,000 MT expected damage.

“Papasok pa rin iyong losses ng El Niño, La Niña doon sa projection natin (The El Niño, La Niña losses will still fall within our projections), and we can still hit more than 20 million metric tons,” he said.

The El Niño phenomenon has so far damaged 60,772 hectares of rice farms, equivalent to 134,828 MT in volume valued at PHP3.30 billion.

To minimize further losses, De Mesa urged farmers to adjust the date of planting to secure early harvest.

“Kung magtatanim ngayong May, ang palay kasi four months iyan. Sabihin mo ng (If we will plant this May, because the palay takes four months. Let’s say) June. June to September, so kaya niya pang i-harvest bago magdatingan iyong malalakas na bagyo (then you can still harvest before the strong typhoons come),” he said.

De Mesa added that besides early planting, farmers may also invest in early-maturing varieties that can produce palay in 100 to 110 days, or opt for flood-tolerant varieties.

State weather bureau PAGASA said La Niña has a 60 percent probability between June to August.

“Historically, [La Niña] is characterized by below normal rainfall, therefore, the possibility of a slight delay on the onset of rainy season is likely with the combined effects of the ongoing El Niño,” PAGASA said in an advisory. (PNA)