3 regions post high rice yields despite El Niño

MANILA, Philippines – Three rice-producing regions posted high yields during the dry season despite the El Niño affecting 276,568 metric tons (MT) of the crop, according to the Department of Agriculture (DA).

Among the 3 top rice-producing regions, Central Luzon's rice harvest increased the highest by 20% from 1.8 million metric tons (MMT) to 2.16 MMT, followed by Ilocos, which saw its production go up by 14.4% to 560,896 MT.

Cagayan Valley came in third with a 2.16% increase to 1.51 MMT.

In a Facebook post on Thursday, April 25, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said these strengthen the DA's projection of achieving 20 MMT in 2019, higher than the record harvest of 19.28 MMT in 2017.

Piñol said the agriculture regional directors from the 3 areas pointed to proper irrigation as the reason behind the high yields, fending off El Niño. These 3 regions will also start planting for the wet season in early May. (READ: El Niño's crop damage has no 'adverse impact' on national production – DA)

The DA has been pushing for irrigation, aside from providing interventions such as free seeds, mechanization, and fertilizers to boost rice production. (READ: Business as usual for rice industry after Duterte signs rice tariffication law– Rappler.com