Right on track to feed the country without importing : PH rice harvest of 19.4 M metric tons in 2017


Photo from Sec. Manny Pinol's FB Page (ctto)

Right on track – this is what Department of Agriculture Secretary Manny Pinol said on his report, pertaining to the records of rice harvest for the 2017.

In a post on his Facebook page, he said that the country is about to set a record of about 19.4-million metric tons of rice for this year, thus, bringing the country closer to its target of 20 million metric tons.

He said that 20 million metric tons of rice is needed to be able to feed the whole country without depending on importation of rice from other countries.

The secretary also pointed out that good harvest for 2017 was aided by the favorable climate and the intensified campaign for the quality seeds and modern technology.

With these records, the Philippines is only short of about 600,000 metric tons of rice to reach its long-dreamed target.

Check out the post from DA Secretary below;

RECORD PH RICE HARVEST OF 19.4-MILLION MT IN 2017

By Manny PiƱol

Aided by favorable climate and the intensified campaign for the use of outstanding seeds and modern technology, the country will see a record rice harvest of about 19.4-million metric tons for 2017, bringing it closer to the long dreamed sufficiency.

The record harvest means that the Philippines will just be short of 600,000 metric tons to reach the targeted 20-million metric tons needed to be able to feed the whole country without depending on rice importation.

The Philippines during the time of President Ferdinand Marcos was rice sufficient for a brief period of time but this was not sustained.

Until recently, the country imported about 1.8-million metric tons of rice but the shortage fell to only 500,000 metric tons in the administration of Pres. Rody Duterte.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), in its report on the 3rd Quarter performance of the Agriculture Sector, said that rice production grew by 14.7%.

Reports from the DA Regional Offices indicate that the 4th Quarter harvest will even be better than the 3rd Quarter because of favorable climate with beneficial typhoons bringing in needed rains.

The rains have allowed rain-fed rice areas, which traditionally plant rice only once a year, to have a second cropping.

The improved performance of the rice sector is also attributed to the increasing openness of farmers to the use of modern technology, including hybrid seeds and mechanization.

The use of hybrid seeds developed by both private agricultural companies and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) boosted rice productivity.

Nueva Ecija rice farmers using hybrid seeds post harvests of 10-metric tons or even better, higher than the national average of 4.38-metric tons per hectare per harvest.

Of the 4.9-million hectares harvested area for rice, only 360,000 hectares are planted to hybrid seeds.
The DA has set a target of 1-million hectares to be planted to hybrid seeds by 2020 with a modest production goal of 6-metric tons per hectare.

This is expected to result in an additional annual production of 4-million metric tons at two harvests a year which would be over and beyond the 600,000 metric ton deficit.

The hybridization program of the Agriculture Department is not without controversies with a few groups claiming that Hybrid Seeds are GMOs and that officials of the Department are making money by promoting Hybid Seeds.

In spite of explanations that Hybrid Rice seeds are simply results of crossbreeding of two rice varieties with outstanding qualities and that thr Department encourages farmers to choose their hybrid seeds - and there is a dozen or more public and private hybrids to choose from - these groups have continued to discredit the program.

The Department of Agriculture, however, will not be deterred and will pursue the program with a clear conscience guided by the vision of President Rody Duterte to provide Available and Affordable Food for the Filipinos.

Source: Manny Pinol FB

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