Region 12 rice production up by 2%

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 12 Aug) – Rice production in Region 12 has increased by nearly two percent during the first half of the year despite the earlier onslaught of a mild dry spell in parts of the region.

Data released by the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (DA-BAS) showed that Region 12’s palay output reached 535,468 MT during the first six month of the year or 8,892 MT more than last year’s figures.

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

The BAS report cited that the region managed to increase its palay output despite the reduction of the area’s palay area from 146,220 hectares in 2012 to 145,796 hectares this year and the reduced output during the second quarter.

“The movement of cropping to the first quarter contributed to the reduction of production and harvest area during the (second) quarter,” it said.

With the region’s increased palay output, DA Region 12 executive director Amalia Jayag-Datukan said the area is presently on track with its target of achieving 130 percent rice self-sufficiency rating by the end of the year.

“Our palay harvest season is now approaching and we’re expecting surplus yields until December,” the official said.

Datukan said the region’s harvestable palay area from August to December is pegged at 193,789 hectares and is projected to yield 753,647 MT.

From August to September, she said a total of 23,179 hectares of palay are due for harvest and is expected to yield 94,171 MT.

An additional 43,019 hectares with a projected yield of 173,795 MT will be harvested from September to October, she said.

From October to December, Datukan said they expect to harvest a total of 515,4576 MT of palay from 127,991 hectares of farmlands.

In 2012, BAS noted that Region 12’s total palay output reached 1.27 million MT or a rice sufficiency rating of 128 percent.

The region ranks fifth among the country’s 17 regions in terms of palay yield and accounts for about 7 percent of the national harvest of 18.03 million MT.

Region 12 has remained as Mindanao’s rice granary, producing about one-third of the island’s total palay production that reached 3.98 million MT last year.

To help achieve the region’s palay production target, Datukan said they have set aside sufficient funds for the distribution of high quality palay seeds as well as the acquisition and construction of more postharvest facilities.

For this year, she said DA-12 had allocated around P225 million for the farm mechanization component of the Agri-Pinoy rice program.

Datukan said the funds were earmarked for the acquisition of rice combine harvesters and threshers as well as the construction and rehabilitation of multi-purpose drying pavements, warehouses, sheds and related facilities.