Farm sector barely grows in April-June 2018

Louise Maureen Simeon - The Philippine Star
Farm sector barely grows in April-June 2018
Based on the latest report of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the local farm sector grew by only 0.07 percent from April to June, slower than the 6.22 percent growth in the same period last year.
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MANILA, Philippines — The country’s agriculture sector further slowed in the second quarter, falling short of the government’s target.

Based on the latest report of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the local farm sector grew by only  0.07 percent from April to June, slower than the 6.22 percent growth in the same period last year.

For the first semester, the agriculture sector rose by a meager 0.58 percent as against the 5.71 percent expansion the previous year.

The Department of Agriculture expected (DA) slower growth for the period due to seasonality and high base reference following improvements after the El Niño phenomenon two years ago.

However, the minimal increase in the overall performance did not meet the DA’s projected growth target of one percent.

“We are still happy even with the negligible growth because we posted a positive performance. It only indicates how volatile and vulnerable the sector is to climate change, which is beyond our control,” Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol told The STAR.

He added that the third quarter may also not see significant increase following the recent consecutive typhoons that hit Central Luzon.

“We still have to assess. While the rice sector was still in the vegetative stage during that time, there were also others that had been affected,” Piñol said.

In terms of current prices, the agricultural sector grossed P447 billion, up six percent year on year.

Total value for the first half reached P890 billion, seven percent higher than the previous year.

Crops, which accounted for bulk of total agricultural production, declined two percent with palay (unhusked rice) and corn decreasing one percent and three percent, respectively.

Palay production decreased to 4.09 million metric tons (MT) while corn production decined to 1.28 million MT.

According to PSA, the decline can be attributed to lesser harvested areas, crop shifting to cassava and sugarcane, early harvesting due to hot weather conditions, and reduction in planting due to closure and rehabilitation of some irrigation facilities.

Production gains, however, were noted among the major crops particularly  coconut, banana, pineapple, mongo, tomato, garlic, eggplant and rubber.

At current prices, the crop sub-sector grossed P241.9 billion, up four percent year-on-year.

Livestock production, which comprised 17 percent of the aggregate output, improved by 1.9 percent. Gross earnings rose 10 percent to P79 billion due to the turnaround of  hog production, higher farm gate prices, sustained demand from consumers, higher live births and low mortality rate.

Poultry likewise increased 5.14 percent, representing 17 percent of the total agricultural output. Gross earnings went up five percent to P58.1 billion.

The expansion of broiler farms capacity, resumption of farm operations, improvement of facilities, opening of new commercial broiler farms and higher demand from food establishments contributed to the growth.

On the other hand, the fisheries sub-sector, which made up 17 percent of the total farm output, declined by 0.05 percent  in volume but the  value increased by seven percent to P68.2 billion.

The decrease was due to the occurrence of fish kill caused by the sudden change of weather conditions, high costs of feeding materials and higher mortality rate because of polluted water.

Meanwhile, average farm-gate prices in the second quarter rose five percent with price gains recorded in all sub-sectors except poultry.

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