GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/7 Nov) – Agriculture officials in South Cotabato are eyeing a surplus of some 26,000 metric tons (MT) for its palay production for the last quarter of the year, the biggest for the period in the last five years.
Reynaldo Legaste, South Cotabato agriculture office chief, said their records showed that the province’s palay harvestable area would reach around 14,000 hectares from October to December.
He said the harvested palay area last October reached 2,000 hectares and they expect an additional 2,000 hectares this month and 12,000 in December.
“We’re in a unique situation right now in terms of our palay harvests because we have not seen this trend in the last five years,” Legaste said.
Based on the province’s average palay production of 4 MT per hectare, the total harvests for the final quarter of the year may reach 56,000 MT.
Records from the Provincial Agriculture Office and the National Food Authority (NFA) showed that the province’s monthly rice consumption is equivalent to 10,000 MT of palay or a total of 30,000 MT for the period.
Legaste said the surplus palay production for this quarter was also complemented by the increasing palay buying prices in the area.
In September, he said local farmers were confronted with the sudden decline of commercial palay buying prices because of the rains, which hampered the drying of palay products.
But two weeks ago, the official said local palay traders raised their buying prices to around P16 per kilo and might even increase in the coming weeks if the present relatively fair weather condition continues.
Legaste said local farmers may also opt to deliver their harvests to NFA buying stations, which maintained its buying price of P17.40 per kilo for individual farmers and P17.70 per kilo for members of farmers’ associations and cooperatives.
From the previous 70-bag limit, NFA-South Cotabato earlier allowed farmers to deliver up to 100 bags of palay per hectare.
Meantime, Legaste said they expect the province’s total palay production this year to increase by five to seven percent when compared to the previous years.
“Aside from the increase in total harvests, we did not experience any lean period so far this year,” he said.
In the previous years, the province usually experience lean harvests for palay in the months of June and July.
But from January to July this year, Legaste earlier said the province produced 107,331 MT of palay or 3.6 percent higher compared to last year’s production of 103,562 MT. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)