Typhoon Haiyan has damaged the 2013 main rice crop, harvesting of which was well advanced, and also disrupted planting of the current 2013-2014 secondary season.
As a result, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has downgraded its forecast for the Philippines’ 2013 rice production to 18 million tonnes from the expectation of a bumper crop of 18.9 million tonnes at the beginning of the season, FAO’s Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS) said in a news release on Tuesday. The rice production shortfall of 900 000 tonnes will be felt disproportionally in the five most affected regions.
While rice production at the national level is likely to remain close to last year’s level, the damage at the regional level is more severe, FAO said, warning that farmers in typhoon-hit areas could face severe food security and livelihood problems if they do not succeed in planting the next crop in the weeks ahead.
“Planting of the secondary season, mostly irrigated rice, was well underway and it is expected that crops are severely compromised. If we want to avoid entire regions of the country having to rely on food aid, we need to act now to help vulnerable families to plant or replant by late December,” Dominique Burgeon, director of FAO's emergency and rehabilitation division, said in the news release.