THE total rice output for the first six months of the year in Eastern Visayas registered a 3.3 percent increase, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) in its July round survey noted.
From 149,867 hectares in the same period last year, the total area harvested climbed to 154,805 hectares or a total of 3.29 percent increase. From a total production level of 528,247 metric tons (MT) in 2015, it grew up to 545,696 MT this year.
"A positive growth in the rice production is somehow compensating to the Department of Agriculture. It means that there is a positive production performance in rice, but we have to take note that what we really want is rice sufficiency," said Rodel Macapañas, rice program report officer.
The region is targeting a total area harvested of 290,356 hectares and one million metric tons in terms of total production for the entire year.
Before the onslaught of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), the total production level was at 994,972 MT, but because of the typhoon and other calamities that affected the region, it declined to 955,709 MT in 2015.
"Among the factors that contributed to the region’s positive growth in rice production are favorable weather conditions and interventions provided to the famers, such as seeds and fertilizers," he added.
However, a decline in terms of area harvested and the overall productivity for the provinces of Southern Leyte and Northern Samar was noted. Accordingly, this was caused by the onslaught of dry spell that happened sometime in the end of 2015 and lasted up to April this year.
Despite this, there is a possibility that for the entire year, the region will achieve a positive growth level of 0.57 percent in terms of area harvested, meaning from 154,805 hectares, it could reach up to 269,853 hectares; an increase in total production output of 0.73 percent or from 955,709 MT to 962,712 MT; and increase in yield level increment of 0.16 percent or 3.56 MT to 3.57 MT.
Eastern Visayas is primarily an agricultural region where its population of more than four million population largely depend on rice as staple food.
Out of the region's 723,048 hectares agricultural land area, 22 percent is devoted to rice cultivation or 157,632 hectares. This, coupled with some other factors affecting production thus, makes rice account for the largest contribution at 21.86 percent to the region’s total agricultural output, according to DA. (PNA)