Palay surplus expected in SoCot

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/16 Sept) – Agriculture officials in South Cotabato are targeting a surplus of more than 20,000 metric tons (MT) for its palay production by the end of the month as the ongoing harvest season continues to peak in the area.

Reynaldo Legaste, South Cotabato Provincial Agriculture Office chief, said Thursday they expect the area’s palay harvestable area to reach at least 10,000 hectares for this month with the onset of the harvests in the province’s upper valley area.

The said area covers the top palay-producing towns of Surallah, Sto. Niño, Norala, Banga, Lake Sebu and T’boli.

Based on the average palay yield of 3.2 to 3.5 MT per hectare, the province’s palay production surplus may reach around 24,000 to 26,000 MT for this month.

“Our average monthly rice consumption is only equivalent to around 2,500 hectares of palay. So with the expected surplus this month we’re already assured of sufficient rice stocks until the end of the year,” Legaste said in a report released by the Provincial Information Office.

Last month, Legaste said the province produced anew considerable yield from around 2,500 hectares of palay area, sustaining the favorable output of the palay sector despite the onslaught of the El Niño Phenomenon during the second quarter of the year.

“Our production pattern progressively changed these past months and we did not even experience any lean period so far,” he said.

Legaste earlier noted that the province’s palay production evened at 2,500 hectares at the height of the previous long dry spell.

He said the province’s favorable palay yield during the period was mainly due to the series of cloud-seeding operations launched by the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Soils and Water Management. Meantime, Legaste said they expect the area’s rice prices to further stabilize in the coming weeks due to the foreseen surplus palay harvests.

“The bumper harvest will create a domino effect in the sense that the wholesale price per sack, as well as the retail price per kilogram of rice, will significantly decrease starting this month,” he said.

The market prices of commercial rice in the province has so far gone down to P31 to P32 per kilo after reaching at least P34 in July. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)