Abusama M. Alid, regional agriculture director, said palay yield forecast for the region from April to June 2008 is at 114,690 metric tons, up 33.3% or 28,663 metric tons from the 86,027 metric tons harvested during the same period last year
“In as far as rice supply in the region is concerned, we are confident that there will be no shortage because of ample production,” he said.
But Alim added that in extreme cases, “when more stocks will be brought out of the region, our constituents have a fall back via government importation.”
Alid cited the two million metric tons of rice that the country seeks to source from foreign countries, explaining the rice import is to maintain the buffer stock of the National Food Authority.
Southwestern Mindanao or Region 12 comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, North Cotabato and Sarangani and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.
The region was the fourth rice producing region in the first quarter of 2007, Bureau of Agricultural Statistics data showed.
For the three months to June 2008, areas planted to palay in Southwestern Mindanao are expected to increase to 33,857 hectares from 25,687 hectares during the same period last year, data prepared by the regional Agriculture office said.
This second quarter, North Cotabato is expected to have a palay production of 46,698 metric tons; South Cotabato, 37,996 metric tons; Sultan Kudarat, 24,053 metric tons; and Sarangani, 5,943 metric tons.
Alid also noted that the region has a palay surplus of 146,219 metric tons from the end or the 2007 harvest season.
“The surplus can still feed the regional population for about 4.3 months or from January to April,” a regional rice sufficiency level report said.
For the first quarter of the year, palay harvest in the region was estimated to reach 384,241 metric tons, up 11% from 345,410 metric tons produced during the same period in 2007, the regional Agriculture department reported. (MindaNews)