NORTHERN Mindanao posted a decline in the production of palay in the first quarter of 2010 compared with the same period last year.

Data from the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) in Northern Mindanao showed that for the first quarter of this year, the region only produced 116,173 metric tons (MT) of palay, or a decrease of about 21 percent compared with last year’s 146,958 MT.

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The Neda attributed the decline to the negative performance of the provinces of Bukidnon and Lanao del Norte, which posted 25.8 percent and 20.8 percent decreases, respectively, due to the movement of harvest to the second quarter as farmers changed their planting schedule.

In the first quarter of 2009, Bukidnon produced 107,828 MT of palay but it reduced to only 80,023 MT this year while Lanao del Norte had a measly production of 12,929 MT this year compared with last year’s 16,322 MT.

Based on the data, the province of Misamis Oriental also contributed to the decline as it only produced 4,456 MT this year compared with last year’s 4,798 MT production.

Among the provinces in Northern Mindanao, only Camiguin and Misamis Occidental posted slight growth in palay production.

In 2009, Camiguin produced 224 MT while this year, it slightly increased to 238 MT while Misamis Occidental recorded 18,527 MT this year compared with last year’s 17,786 MT, which can be attributed to the recultivation of areas under the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), the rehabilitation of Samahang Nayon CIS and the cultivation of more rainfed areas in the municipality of Bonifacio and the city of Tangub.

With the reduced production of palay in the first quarter of this year, its value also declined by 19.5 percent with only P1.904 billion compared with last year’s value of P2.364 billion.