Department of Agriculture Maintains Rice Production Goals Amid La Niña Concerns

MANILA—The Department of Agriculture (DA) is steadfast in its goal to achieve a rice production target of 20.4 million metric tons for the year, despite the threat of a ‘more destructive’ La Niña event, which is anticipated to impact the country soon. This target marks a slight increase from last year’s production of 20.06 million metric tons.

According to Philippines News Agency, despite potential increases in agricultural damage from typhoons and flooding expected to affect up to 60,772 hectares of rice farms, the projected losses of 500,000 to 600,000 metric tons are accounted for in the year’s production goals. “The losses from El Niño and La Niña are incorporated into our projections, and we are still on track to exceed 20 million metric tons,” De Mesa stated in an interview.

To mitigate further losses, De Mesa has advised farmers to adjust planting schedules to ensure that crops are harvested before the peak typhoon season. He suggests that planting in May would allow for harvest by September, ahead of the most severe weather. In addition, he recommended that farmers consider using early-maturing rice varieties, which can be harvested in 100 to 110 days, and flood-tolerant varieties, to better withstand the adverse conditions.

The state weather bureau PAGASA noted that there is a 60 percent chance of La Niña occurring between June and August. PAGASA also highlighted that historically, La Niña is associated with below-normal rainfall, which might slightly delay the onset of the rainy season, further complicated by the ongoing El Niño’s effects.