The country’s palay output in the first quarter would likely fall by nearly 4 percent to 4.25 million metric tons from 4.42 MMT in the same period of last year, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) projected.
In its latest forecast report as of March 1, the PSA revised upward its February projection by 6.25 percent from an estimate of 4 MMT.
However, despite the revision, first quarter palay harvest could fall to its lowest level in four years due to area contraction and yield reduction, PSA historical data showed.
“Harvest area may decrease by 4.8 percent, from 1.153 [million] hectares in 2019. Yield per hectare may rise slightly to 3.87 metric tons, from 3.83 metric tons in the previous year,” the PSA said in its report, titled Updates on January-March 2020 Palay and Corn Estimates.
The PSA said about 540,140 hectares, or 49.2 percent, of the updated standing crops for the first quarter were already harvested during the reference period.
“Of the total area of standing palay, 21.8 percent were at vegetative stage, 36.7 percent at reproductive stage, and 41.5 percent at maturing stage,” PSA added.
Rice industry groups earlier attributed the possible decline in harvest due to scaling down by farmers of their production following two seasons of income losses due to low prevailing market prices.
In the same report, the PSA estimated the corn production in the first quarter may slightly fall to 2.4 MMT from 2.43 MMT in the same period of last year. The PSA attributed the possible decline to lower to shrinkage in area planted to the crop.
“Harvest area may reduce to 698,970 hectares, from 706,260 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,” it said.
The PSA said as of March 1 about 466,200 hectares or 66.7 percent of the updated standing crop have been harvested.
“Of the 497.48 thousand hectares total area of standing crop, 25.3 percent were at vegetative stage, 28.0 percent at reproductive stage, and 46.7 percent at maturing stage,” it added.