Nueva Ecija’s palay granary won’t be full due to typhoons, agri exec says
CABANATUAN CITY, Philippines—Consistently topping the list of palay producing provinces in the country, Nueva Ecija will not be able to fill its granaries this time due to the damage wrought by Typhoons “Pedring” and “Quiel” on the province’s farmlands.
Although the typhoons did not directly hit the province last week, they spawned strong winds and dumped heavy rains that triggered flash floods.
“The rice plants were hit by the calamity at their very vulnerable stages. They were either in their reproductive or maturity stages,” Serafin Santos, Nueva Ecija agriculturist, said.
An assessment made by city and municipal agriculturists showed the province lost 300,923.35 metric tons in expected harvest. Valued at P12 a kilogram, the loss amounted to P3.63 billion.
Santos said when rice plants are battered by strong wind at its reproductive stage, unfilled or half-filled grains will be produced. “Many unfilled grains will be produced when palay is threshed. They would weigh less,” he said.
The quality of grains in maturity stage, or when grains are about to ripen before harvest, will deteriorate after being soaked. “Mangingitim ang mga butil (The grains will darken),” Santos said.
Records of the provincial agriculture office showed that 188,000 hectares were planted to rice this cropping season in the province. Only about 3,000 ha of this area had been harvested before the typhoons struck.
Of the total area planted, 154,526 ha were projected to suffer losses of between 30 and 80 percent.
Rice plants in about 104,000 ha were in their reproductive stage when floods swept the province.
Guimba lost P495.1 million when its 14,737 ha of rice plants suffered 70 percent damage.
Other worst-hit towns were San Antonio (6,758 ha) and Zaragoza (4,015 ha), which suffered losses valued at P259.5 million and P154.2 million, respectively.
Santos said that before the two typhoons came, farmers and agriculture officials were expecting a good harvest due to the good weather. He estimated the harvest to be at least 762,400 MT that time.
Due to the damage, the province is expected to record only about 60 percent of that projected harvest, he said.
“We pity the farmers. They will be buried in bigger debts,” Santos said.
Records from the Philippine Rice Research Institute showed Nueva Ecija topping the rice producing provinces from 2002 to 2006, with a yearly average harvest of 1,113,284 MT. It was followed by Isabela (1,006,422 MT), Pangasinan (832,114 MT), Iloilo (763,893 MT) and Cagayan (548,369 MT).
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