The Philippine milled rice production is projected to slightly improve this market year (MY) ending June on favorable weather conditions and bigger planted area, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

In its latest World Agricultural Production report, the USDA said the Philippines' milled rice production may reach 12.6 million metric tons (MT) in MY 2022-2023, up one percent from 12.54 million MT from MY 2021-2022.

USDA's market year begins in July while the Philippine rice is cultivated throughout the year, with rice output produced quarterly.

The highest rice outputs are accumulated in quarters four and one, which represent about 38 and 23 percent of total production, respectively.

The USDA said it raised its production forecast due to higher-than-expected second quarter output.

'The Philippines' quarterly rice output for the MY 2022/23 market year has achieved higher-than-expected results owing to favorable weather and higher planted area,' it said.

The country's harvested area was estimated at 4.9 million hectares, up one percent from the previous year.

Specifically, third quarter of 2022, first and second quarter this year registered improved milled rice production.

'Rice output for quarter three, quarter one and preliminary estimates for quarter two cycles, have achieved year-to-year increases of one percent, five percent, and one percent, respectively, according to the Philippine Statistical Authority (PSA),' the USDA said.

An outlier was the fourth quarter of 2022, where rice output was down two percent year-on-year 'as a result of inclement weather that impacted rice area,' it said.

Earlier, the PSA palay (unhusked rice) output in the first semester rose to nine million MT, a three-percent rise from 8.7 million MT produced for the same period last year and in 2021.

The PSA report is higher than what the Department of Agriculture (DA) earlier projected and is also higher than the Philippine Rice Information System (PRISM) estimate of 8.7 million MT.

The nine million MT palay output is equivalent to 5.9 million MT milled rice, higher than the PRISM estimate of 5.7 million MT.

DA Undersecretary for rice industry development Leocadio Sebastian earlier said the recent production reports affirm that the Philippines' current supply outlook for rice - carryover, production, imports - and negates speculations of rice supply shortage.

Moreover, he said the country's rice production would continue to grow considering the good palay price in the previous cropping and provision of various interventions by DA, such as seeds, fertilizers, biofertilizers, soil ameliorants, farm machinery extension support.

But despite the improved first half rice production, the Philippines is still planning to import 1.3 million MT of rice due to the impact of Typhoon Egay, the El Niño phenomenon and Russia's withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain initiative.

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