Philippine cassava production this year could expand by 2.54 percent to 2.825 million metric tons (MMT), from last year’s 2.755 MMT, according to the latest report of the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
In the November round of its biannual report on global food markets, titled “Food Outlook,” the FAO attributed the increase in production to growing demand for the crop as Filipinos substitute it for rice.
“In the Philippines, based on the pace of the harvest for the first six months of the year, cassava output is expected to reach 2.8 MMT in 2017, marginally above the level of 2016,” the FAO said in the report, which was published recently.
“By contrast, in Indonesia and the Philippines, cassava is more important for food security than for industry. Dietary diversification programs in the two countries have targeted cassava as a substitute for rice, which both countries import heavily,” it added.
Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed that the country produced 1.407 MMT of cassava in the first half, 2.69 percent higher than the 1.37 MMT recorded during the January-to-June period of 2016.
“The sustained demand for food, feeds and industrial uses of cassava resulted in the increase in harvested areas in Bukidnon,” the PSA said.
“There were also increases in harvested areas in the provinces of Isabela and Quirino as a result of technical, financial and marketing assistance from the San Miguel Corp. to cassava
farmers,” it added.
Last year the Philippines produced 2.755 MMT of cassava, 1.5 percent higher than the 2.714 MMT recorded in 2015.
The FAO report also projected that global cassava production would decline this year by 1 MMT to 278 MMT.
“Hitherto, cassava held the status of being one of the fastest expanding staple crops at the global level, registering annual average growth well above 3 percent over the past decade, but a combination of policy changes, depressed root prices and adverse weather in the major producing countries was behind lower plantings and consequently lower harvest prospects for 2017,” the report read.
In the same report, the FAO estimated that Philippine pineapple production this year would reach a record high of 2.651 MMT.
The figure is 2.78 percent higher than last year’s 2.612 MMT.