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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Cagayan region still expects bumper rice, corn harvests

Despite the damage wrought by recent typhoons in Cagayan Valley (or Region 2), it is still expected to produce bumper harvests of palay (paddy rice) and corn for 2011 versus previous years.

In a report to Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala, during his two-day (October 19-20) visit last week, DA Region 2 Director Lucrecio Alviar, Jr. said Cagayan Valley may yet produce record harvests of palay, at 2.15 million metric tons (MMT) , and corn, at 1.6 MMT, barring typhoons that may visit the region in November and December.

Alviar said despite the crop damage caused by four typhoons (Juaning, Mina, Pedring and Quiel), the region’s projected 2011 palay harvest of 2.15 MMT will be 23 percent (%) more than last year’s total production of 1.746 MMT, and 3.5% more than in 2009 (2.077 MMT).

As for corn, expected 2011 annual harvest of 1.6 MMT will be 27% more than last year’s level of 1.26 MMT, and slightly better than 2009 total yield of 1.59 MMT.

The four typhoons damaged roughly 146,870 MT of palay in Cagayan Valley, pulling down 2011 target production of 2.29 MMT by 6.4%.

Consulting with farmers and local officials during his recent three-day (October 19-21) visit of eight typhoon-affected provinces in Regions 2 and 3 (Central Luzon), Secretary Alcala assured them the country’s rice sufficiency program remains on track.

“The typhoons and floods may have affected our 2011 target rice and corn production, but they were not enough to offset what we have achieved in the first three quarters of the year,” Secretary Alcala told about 10,000 farmers and local officials during consultations in Cagayan, Isabela, Quirino, Nueva Vizcaya, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Pampanga and Bulacan.

He said the DA is allotting an initial package of assistance, mainly for seed subsidy, totaling P446 million (P331 million for Central Luzon and P116 million for Cagayan Valley) to enable farmers, fishers and their respective localities recover and start anew.

Farmers whose palay and corn crops were totally-damaged will receive free seeds of certified seeds or open pollinated corn variety worth P1,200 per hectare, and P600-worth of seeds for partially-damaged areas.

The DA is also encouraging farmers to participate in a quick turn-around (QTA) program and ratooning starting November to produce more palay (paddy rice) during the first quarter of 2012, and offset losses wrought by recent typhoons.

Secretary Alcala is also encouraging fertilizer companies like Planters Products and farm input suppliers to implement plant-now, pay-later schemes.

Cagayan Valley ranks third behind Central Luzon and Western Visayas (Region 6) as the country’s top palay producers.

In 2010, due to prolonged drought spawned by El Nino, Cagayan harvested only a total of 1.746 M MT of palay, compared with Central Luzon’s output of 2.958 M MT and Western Visayas’ 1.789 M MT.

In 2009, which is considered a ‘normal year,’ Cagayan produced 2.077 M MT, while Central Luzon had 2.958 M MT, and Western Visayas harvested 2.205 M MT.

As for corn, Cagayan remains as the country’s top producer, with 1.598 M MT in 2009 and 1.263 M MT last year. Region 2 Dir. Lucrecio Alviar, Jr., DA

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