THE National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) in Northern Mindanao has reported an increase of 5 percent in annual palay (unhusked rice) production to 745,733 metric tons in 2017.
The region produced only 711,284 metric tons in 2016.
According to Neda-Northern Mindanao, Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental led the increase in the annual palay production at 7.52 percent (457,102 metric tons) and 15.70 percent (24,365 metric tons), respectively.
Neda attributed Bukidnon’s good performance to the Department of Agriculture’s hybrid and certified seed subsidy program and sufficient irrigation water.
As of the fourth quarter of 2017, an additional 1,117 hectares of agricultural lands were provided with irrigation facilities, bringing the total service area to 73,336 hectares.
Of the 73,336 hectares, Bukidnon registered the largest additional service area of 832 hectares as of 2017, followed by the provinces of Lanao del Norte, Misamis Occidental and Misamis Oriental which reported expansions in service areas by 164 hectares, 64 hectares and 57 hectares, respectively.
Lanao del Norte registered the highest level of irrigation development at 81.79 percent while Bukidnon had the lowest at only 50 percent.
A total of 48,096 hectares still remain for irrigation development, Neda said.
Despite the increase in palay production in 2017, Neda has observed a 22.4-percent decline in palay price. This brought the 2017 production value to only P11.596 billion, a 19-percent decrease from 2016's P14.254-billion production value.
Meanwhile, Neda said the Northern Mindanao's rice inventory as of January 1, 2018 went down by 25 percent to only 1.18 million bags, with NFA showing the biggest reduction of 47 percent.
This inventory is estimated to last only 41 days, with daily rice consumption requirement placed at 28,920 bags, Neda added.
The National Food Authority (NFA) in Northern Mindanao, however, assured the public that there is no rice shortage.