The Philippines has set its 2014 rice production target at 19.32 million tonnes, up 4 percent compared to this year’s estimated figure of 18.58 million tonnes, a senior government official has said.

According to the country’s Agriculture Undersecretary Dante Delima, the Southeast Asian nation’s rice production for 2014 may still rise once the government starts the implementation of interventions such as the expansion of irrigation facilities.

The Philippines targeted total rice self-sufficiency this year. However, a series of natural disasters, especially typhoon Haiyan, has forced the country to push back its timetable for the goal.

Dalima added that the country’s self-sufficiency in rice currently stands at 97 percent.

Last year, good weather and the upgrade of the irrigation system enabled the Philippines to produce 18.03 million tonnes of rice, a rise of 8.1 percent over 2011.-VNA