P2B palay lost in ‘Santi’ onslaught — DA
MANILA, Philippines — Typhoon “Santi” rendered worthless at least some P2-billion worth of palay in Central Luzon alone, according to preliminary data from the Department of Agriculture.
Agriculture Undersecretary Dante S. Delima said that as of Sunday, the DA monitoring found a total of 248,000 hectares of riceland damaged by the typhoon.
In terms of palay farms, worst hit was Nueva Ecija with 160,000 hectares ravaged.
In Tarlac, 50,000 hectares were damaged; 29,000 in Bulacan; 4,000 in Pampanga; 2,000 in Bataan; 1,500 in Aurora; and 9,000 in Zambales.
Delima said the latest howler to hit the country gobbled up 133,000 metric tons (MT) of palay, which was equivalent to 15 percent of the total rice production in the region during the third quarter.
Asked what impact such damage would have on fourth-quarter output, Delima – the official in charge of the government’s national rice program – said his office was still validating this, including damage incurred in other regions such as Cagayan Valley.
“We plan to have a comprehensive, final report by Friday, including our recommendations (for addressing the damage) to the Office of the Secretary,” he added.
So far, the assessed value of palay crops lost to Santi was about four times the combined damage of at least P484 million resulting from Typhoons “Labuyo” and “Maring,” and the monsoon rains that they exacerbated, in August.
Delima did not provide data related to corn crops, some P2.1 billion worth of which was lost to heavy rains in August.
Just last week, Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala put the forecast on palay production for 2013 at 18.57 million MT, which would be equivalent to 12.07 million MT of milled rice.
Alcala said that considering a beginning rice inventory of 2.52 million MT at the start of 2013, the forecast rice supply would total 14.84 million MT, “which is more than enough to cover the demand of about 12.6 million MT.”
He added that the surplus of 2.24 million MT would serve as buffer stock calculated to cover 74 days of domestic demand.
But the National Economic and Development Authority doubts the DA’s claims on rice self-sufficiency, even suggesting to Malacañang the immediate importation of 500,000 MT of milled rice.
But Alcala also said any decision on importation might not be made until early 2014.
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