The Department of Agriculture (DA) said the country has recorded the highest rice production in 2020 with a total volume of 19.44 million metric tons (MMT), surpassing the 2017 record of 19.27 metric tons which shows a significant growth in rice production all throughout the year.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar said in a virtual presser that the interventions of the government such as additional funding has contributed to the figure recorded by the department in 2020.

“There is a new record of harvest in the country, ang pinakamataas na rice production natin was already obtained last year. Meaning, in 2020, with all the interventions coming from government, ‘yong dagdag na binigay na budget sa rice production, 8.5 billion plus the RCEF and the regular budget, that give us the opportunity to reach this new record harvest in rice totaling 19.4 million metric tons,” Dar said.

“The highest then was in 2017, 19.27 million metric tons so talagang may significant na pag-angat ang ani natin sa palay last year, last 2020,” he said.

Based in previous statement released by DA from its year-end report, the 2020 projected palay production of Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) is comprised of the actual production of 11.9 MMT from January to September, and projected harvest of 7.54 MMT for fourth quarter, based on standing crop as of November 1, 2020.

The projected 2020 record yield of 19.44 MMT is 3.3 percent more than the output in 2019 which is 18.81 MMT and surpassed the previous production record of 19.27 MMT attained in 2017, DA stated.

In 2021, DA stated that it is targeting a “conservative production of 20.48 MMT to a high of 20.66 MMT.”

Dar expressed his confidence that there is also a positive increase with the growth of the entire agriculture sector in 2020, which could be prove by data to be released by Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) and National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) by first week of February.

“Ang ating taya, we targeted bago nagkaroon ng pandemya then came the pandemic, then we revisited it before the end of the year, ang ating nakikita na growth ay positive pa rin pero siguro kung tayo ay makamtan natin ng isang porsyento na paglago ng sektor ng agrikultura, doon ‘yong nakikita natin,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dar said that DA will focus more in modernization and industrialization in 2021, wherein key 12 strategies dubbed as ONE DA: A Holistic Approach to Agriculture & Fisheries Transformation with a goal to enrich harvest and increase sales.

The 12 key strategies to be executed by DA are Farm Clustering or Bayanihan Agri Clusters (BACs); Province-led Agriculture and Fisheries Extension System (PAFES); Agri-Industrial Business Corridors (ABCs); Infrastructure Investments; Post-harvest, Processing Logistics, & Marketing Support; Digital Agriculture; Climate Change Adaptation & Mitigation Measures; Mobilization & Empowerment of Partners to Attain Scale; Global Trade, Export Development & Promotion; Food Safety & Regulations; Ease of Doing Business & Transparent Procurement; and Strategic Communication Support.

“It’s all towards modernization and industrialization and giving higher levels of productivity and higher income for the farmers and fisherfolks,” he said.