MANILA - The Philippines' rice production reached an all-time high last year at 19.3 million metric tons (MT), up 2.6 percent from 18.8 million MT in 2019, based on data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) released on Wednesday.
This was driven by the strong rice harvests in the second quarter and third quarter, which rose 7.1 percent and 15.2 percent, respectively.
The bumper crop in the second and third quarters offset the 1.4 percent annual drop in rice output in the fourth quarter.
The country's rice output was one of the few bright spots in agriculture, which saw farm and fisheries production fall 1.2 percent last year.
Despite higher rice production last year, the Philippines, which is the world's biggest rice importer, will still need to bring in at least 1.69 million tons of its staple food this year to fully cover domestic requirements, the government said earlier in January.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar said that rice output, together with other crops, will further increase throughout 2021 supported by the government's P20-billion program, barring destructive typhoons.
Last year, the DA started distributing cash aid for rice farmers, and offering accessible loans for farmers, fisherfolk and agribusiness owners to help the agricultural sector bounce back from the effects of COVID-19 pandemic.
- With a report from Reuters