GIEWS Country Brief: Philippines 16-November-2016

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  • Typhoons Sarika and Haima have negatively affected central and northern parts of Luzon, but overall impact on 2016 cereal crops expected to be limited

  • Cereal import requirements in 2016/17 marketing year (July/June) forecast to remain high

  • Prices of rice stable in recent months

  • Typhoons negatively impacted livelihoods and food security of affected households

Cereal production in 2016 forecast to recover from last year’s reduced level

In mid‑October, central and northern parts of Luzon Island were struck by two typhoons in close succession, Typhoon Sarika, a Category 4 event on 16 October and Typhoon Haima, a Category 5 event on 19 October. Strong winds, heavy rains and localized floods caused loss of life, damage to housing, infrastructure and agricultural sector. Although a comprehensive damage evaluation is not yet available, preliminary official estimates indicate that, as of 4 November, about 400 000 hectares of paddy, maize and high value crops (such as mango, banana, papaya, cassava and vegetables) were adversely affected by both typhoons. The overall damage to the agriculture sector was estimated to be close to USD 234 million. Hardest hit was the rice sector, followed by those of high value crops and maize. At the time of the typhoons, harvesting of the 2016 main season paddy crop, representing 55 percent of the annual production, was ongoing, while planting of the mostly irrigated 2016/17 secondary season crop was about to commence. The latest official estimates indicate that over 343 000 hectares of paddy crops were affected, mainly in Region I (Ilocos Region), Region II (Cagayan Valley), Region III (Central Luzon), Region IV‑A (Calabarzon), Region V (Bicol Region) and Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR). The affected area represents 13 percent of the estimated total area planted to the 2016 main season rice crop, out of which about 71 000 hectares, some 3 percent, were reportedly lost. Although significant localized crop losses are likely in the most affected areas, the overall impact on the 2016 main season paddy output is expected to be limited, particularly considering the otherwise favourable weather conditions during most of the season. Furthermore, the forecasted increase in the secondary season crop is anticipated to compensate for losses to the main season crop. Assuming average growing conditions during the remainder of the season, FAO’s production outlook remains positive, pointing to an aggregate paddy harvest of 18.7 million tonnes. This level would stand 7 percent above the 2015 outcome, which was affected by dry conditions associated to El Niño.

Damage to the 2016 main season maize crop is also expected to be limited as the harvest was virtually completed by mid‑September. As a result and assuming normal weather conditions for the remaining of the season, FAO forecast the 2016 maize output at 7.8 million tonnes, implying a 12 percent recovery from dry weather-reduced harvest in 2015.

The 2015/16 El Niño anomaly, which negatively affected on 2015/16 crops in the Philippines, dissipated in June. According to the World Meteorological Organization, atmospheric conditions now point to a 50‑60 percent likelihood of a weak La Niña episode during the 2016 Northern Hemisphere autumn and persisting through the 2016/17 Northern Hemisphere winter. The phenomenon is historically associated with above‑normal rainfall. This could benefit the 2016 secondary season crops, although, excessive rains could also raise the potential for flooding and negatively impacting on the yields.

Cereal import requirements in 2016/17 marketing year forecast to remain high

Wheat import requirements in the 2016/17 marketing year (July/June) are forecast at 4.9 million tonnes, 4 percent above last year’s high level, reflecting high demand for both high‑quality wheat for milling and low‑quality wheat for animal feeding. By contrast, FAO forecasts rice import requirements in calendar year 2016 to fall by 32 percent to 1.4 million tonnes, owing to ample domestic availabilities and generally stable domestic quotations.

Maize import requirements in 2016/17 are forecast to remain at last year’s level of 600 000 tonnes.

Prices of rice stable in recent months

The national average prices of regular and well‑milled rice varieties remained stable in recent months reflecting adequate domestic availabilities. Overall, rice prices were close to their year‑earlier levels.

Typhoons negatively impacted livelihoods and food security of affected households

According to the latest official estimates at least 1.5 million people have been negatively affected by the recent typhoons, mainly concentrated in Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon and CAR. Large numbers of people are still living in temporary shelters and relying on humanitarian support. Most of the population affected by the typhoons is critically dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods and many are vulnerable to food insecurity. Overall, over 170 000 farmers were negatively affected. It is critical that affected farmers receive appropriate and timely agricultural assistance, including rice and maize seeds for planting of the 2016/17 secondary season crops, irrigation tools, fertilizers for rice and maize crops, as well as, equipment for planting and harvesting, together with the provision of storage facilities.