The Philippines achieved a new quarterly record for palay (unmilled rice) production of 4.626 million metric tons (MMT) in the first quarter of 2021, which is also an 8.6-percent increase from the same period last year.
The previous quarterly palay harvest record was achieved in the first quarter of 2018.
John de Leon, Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) executive director, attributed the record production growth to improvements in areas harvested and yield.
The area harvested increased by 4.53 percent and yield grew by 3.87 percent over the same period last year.
“Area harvested to rice expanded from 1.10 million hectares (ha) to 1.15 million ha, while yield went up from 3.88 mt/ha (metric ton/hectare) to 4.03 mt/ha. Overall, area harvested contributed 54 percent to the incremental first quarter production, while the share of yield was 46 percent,” said de Leon in his report to Agriculture Secretary William Dar.
De Leon said the first quarter growth in palay output was achieved in both irrigated and rainfed areas, with the latter also benefiting from the series of typhoons in the last quarter of 2020. That enabled farmers to make a quick turn around in planting palay.
With the record harvest in the first quarter of this year, Dar forecasts at record annual output of 20.4 million metric tons of palay this year.
“This record first-quarter yield further boosts our confidence to hit, or even surpass, the 20.4-million metric ton palay production target we set this year, barring strong typhoons and other natural calamities,” said Dar.