Palay production last year reached 20.06 million metric tons, the highest ever harvest of the Philippines’ national staple, help by better weather conditions in the last quarter of 2023.
Based on data released on January 30, 2024 by the Philippine Statistics Authority, last year’s palay output was 1.5 percent higher than the 2022 volume of 19.76 million MT. The 2022 harvest was actually a decline from the previous record harvest of 19.96 million MT in 2021.
“Our goal is to push that rice harvest volume further but that could be a challenge this year because of water shortage we expect due to El Nino,” said Agriculture Secretary Francisco P. Tiu Laurel, Jr.
The record palay harvest translates to 13.2 million MT of rice, an amount that allowed the country to reduce rice import volume to 3.5 million MT from 3.8 million MT in 2022.
On orders of President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., the DA aims to modernize agriculture to increase food production, particularly palay, ensure food security and increase farmers’ incomes.
Rice consumption is estimated at 13.5 million MT but a required 50-day buffer means the country needs an additional 1.85 million MT of rice supply.
The PSA also reported that agriculture and fisheries sector remained resilient despite challenges faced in 2023, posting a 0.7 percent growth in terms of production value.
Secretary Tiu Laurel also cited the contribution of the livestock and poultry sectors, which recorded growth of 2.7 percent and 7.8 percent in terms of value, respectively, even with the continuing cases of African swine flu and avian influenza.
Crop production, which shares a majority of 58.7% of the total value of production in agriculture and fisheries, exhibited a 0.1% growth as compared to last year, he said. (DA)