MANILA – The El Niño phenomenon did not significantly affect rice production in three rice-producing regions in the country, according to Agriculture secretary Manny Piñol.
“Three of the country’s major rice producing regions, Central Luzon, Cagayan Valley and Ilocos, have reported huge increases in their projected rice yields for 2019 Dry Season, in spite of the adverse effects of El Niño,” Piñol said in a Facebook post.
He said that Department of Agriculture’s (DA) regional directors reported a 22 percent increase on harvested rice in Central Luzon; 14.4 percent increase in Ilocos; and 2.16 percent increase in Cagayan Valley, compared to the recorded rice yield from last year.
“The three Regional Directors reported that rice production in their areas was not affected by El Niño because the planted areas for the season are all irrigated,” Piñol added.
He also attributed the high yield to the increase in the use of good quality seeds in the last three years.
Piñol added that wet season planting in the said regions will start in early May to avoid agricultural loss due to the onslaught of tropical cyclones that usually hit Northern Luzon provinces towards the end of the year.
In recent months, some provinces, including Albay and Cebu declared a state of calamity due to the agricultural damages caused by the El Niño phenomenon.
As of early April, the DA pegged the cost of agricultural losses brought about by the El Niño phenomenon to P5.05 billion.
PAGASA, meanwhile, reported that rainfall across the country is expected to normalize by July. (GMA News)