Q1 palay, corn production in Region 12 up a bit

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/ 24 September)– Palay and corn production in Region 12 or the Soccsksargen Region slightly increased during the first quarter of the year despite the onslaught of several weather-related disturbances in some parts of the region.

Arturo Valero, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Region 12 director, said the region’s palay harvests during the first three months of the year reached 383,494metric tons (MT) or 0.26 percent higher than the recorded output of 382,515 MT last year.

Region 12 covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

“Higher growth was recorded in rain-fed areas because of sufficient rainfall, but some irrigated areas in (North) Cotabato and South Cotabato provinces were damaged by excessive rain/floods,” Valero cited in the first quarter regional economic situationer released recently.

Valero said North Cotabato accounted for the biggest share of the region’s palay output at around 40 percent.

He said the provinces of Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani produced around 29.7 percent and 27.4 percent, respectively, of the region’s palay during the period.

For corn, Valero said the region’s total production during the first quarter reached 257,565 MT or 2.04 percent higher than the previous year’s 252,423 MT.

He said the increase in corn production was mainly due to the “favorable weather condition during the period.”

North Cotabato was the region’s top corn producer at 43 percent followed by South Cotabato at 28 percent.

“There is a continuing massive planting of rice and corn given the favorable weather and the assistance of the government to farmers [like] rice subsidy and technical assistance. Some areas are into organic farming and this would reduce the overall cost of production due to lesser use of chemicals and commercial fertilizers,” Valero stressed.

Meantime, Region12’s coconut production reached 233,201 MT during the
first quarter or 11.25 percent higher than the 209,619 MT produced last year, with Sarangani accounting for around 44 percent of the total output, Valero said.

He noted that North Cotabato contributed about 20 percent followed by Sultan Kudarat and South Cotabato at 18 percent each.

The official said rubber posted the biggest increase in terms of the first quarter production with 35,347 MT or 11.68 increase from last year’s total output of 31,651 MT.

He said the improved production was “due to increased number of trees
that were already mature for tapping.”

North Cotabato accounted for almost the entire rubber output of Region
12 at 99.5 percent, he said.

The region’s banana production also increased by 4.4 percent as it posted a total yield of 283,206 MT this year compared to last year’s 271,297 MT.

North Cotabato was the region’s top banana producer at 54 percent followed by South Cotabato at 24 percent and Sarangani at 19 percent.

“Bigger fruits of cavendish banana were developed because of the sufficient rains. Region 12’s bananas were also well-accepted in the export markets,” Valero added.

However, Valero said the region’s sugarcane production dropped by around 9 percent during the first quarter, with the total yield only reaching 334,181 MT compared to last year’s 367,003 MT.

“Harvesting was delayed in [North] Cotabato due to frequent rains but it remained the biggest producer at about 66 percent followed by Sarangani contributing about 16 percent,” he said.

Valero said pineapple posted a total yield of 208,538 MT, dropping by 0.07 percent from last year’s 208,682 MT “as some farmers shifted to Cavendish banana farming.”

He said mango production reached 9.093 MT or down by 4.5 percent from last year’s 9,522 MT “because of frequent rains especially during its early fruit development stage.” (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)