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Effect of El Niño, natural calamities: Farm sector barely grows in 2015

Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - January 21, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The long dry spell and calamities severely affected the Philippine agriculture sector last year as it posted flat growth in volume and a further decline in value, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported.

The farm sector grew a measly 0.11 percent in 2015 in terms of production volume compared to the 1.39 percent growth in 2014.

The agricultural sector grossed P1.42 trillion at current prices, down almost five percent from P1.49 trillion in 2014.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said El Nino is expected to reach its peak in the first quarter of this year with effects to be felt by 85 percent of the country until the latter part of April.

Furthermore, the crops sub-sector, which comprised 51.83 percent of farm production, dropped almost two percent last year. Production of palay and corn decreased 4.31 percent and 3.24 percent, respectively.

Significant losses were recorded in the production of rubber, onion, tobacco and sugarcane. Gains in production, however, were noted in garlic and cassava production.

At current prices, the crop sub-sector grossed P852.2 billion, eight percent lower than the 2014 gross earnings of P927.3 billion.

Production in the fisheries sub-sector, which accounted for 16.38 percent of total farm output, further declined two percent in 2015 from the 0.45 percent decrease in 2014.

At current prices, the sub-sector went down 2.67 percent to P118.2 billion gross earnings from P121.5 billion in 2014. Majority of fisheries production fell with tiger prawn and seaweed the only registered increase in production.

On the other hand, the poultry sub-sector which shared 14.72 percent in the total production expanded 5.7 percent in 2015 against a minimal 0.27 percent expansion in 2014.

Gross earnings in the sub-sector rose 2.37 percent to P194.1 billion from P189.6 billion the previous year with growth seen in the production of chicken, chicken eggs and duck eggs.

Livestock production which comprised of 17.07 percent of the 2015 production also increased 3.8 percent last year, faster than the growth of one percent in 2014.

Gross earnings in the livestock sub-sector rose 1.76 percent to P252.1 billion at current prices from P247.8 billion the previous year. Growth in the sub-sector was led by increases in all livestock production except carabao which posted a 0.69 percent decrease.

Meanwhile, average farm-gate prices in 2015 decreased 4.78 percent with all sub-sectors posting declines.

BILLION EL NINO GEOPHYSICAL AND ASTRONOMICAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION PAGASA PERCENT PHILIPPINE ATMOSPHERIC PHILIPPINE STATISTICS AUTHORITY PRODUCTION SECTOR SUB YEAR
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