Based on the latest report of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the local farm sector grew by only 0.56 percent last year compared to the nearly four percent recorded in 2017.
Typhoons slow farm sector growth in 2018
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - January 24, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The country’s agriculture sector slowed down last year after consecutive typhoons battered the country, affecting the crops sector.

Based on the latest report of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the local farm sector grew by only 0.56 percent last year compared to the nearly four percent recorded in 2017.

The growth was also lower than the Department of Agriculture’s projection of one percent.

“It was not as pretty as we expect it to be and it was a challenging year for Philippine agriculture and we attribute that to the almost monthly tropical disturbances and typhoons which affected production,” Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol told reporters yesterday.

For 2019, however, Piñol expects the sector to bounce back and grow by as much 3.5 percent.

“We will recover as the fundamentals remain in place such as good seeds, intensified irrigation, mechanization, credit intervention and post-harvest facilities,” Piñol said as he noted the economic team’s support.

“My forecast is closer to 2.5 percent. There are many structural defects in the agriculture sector. The challenges are too great to get a growth of three to four percent a year in the long term,” agricultural economist Rolando Dy said in a text message.

Meanwhile, the agricultural sector grossed P1.82 trillion, up six percent year on year.

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

Palay production decreased to 19.06 million metric tons (MT) while corn production went down to 7.8 million MT.

The decline was due to the reduction in area harvested brought by the effects of typhoons as well as the inadequate irrigation water and insufficient rainfall during the planting period in some areas.

Production gains, meanwhile, were noted among the major crops particularly coconut, banana, pineapple and abaca.

At current prices, the crop sub-sector grossed P1 trillion, four percent higher than the previous year.

Livestock production, which comprised 18 percent of the aggregate output, inched up 1.89 percent. Gross earnings rose 10 percent to P322 billion.

PSA said the increase was due to the turnaround of hog production, higher farm gate prices, sustained demand for meat processing, institutional use and local consumption in most regions.

Poultry likewise increased 5.75 percent, representing 16 percent of the total agricultural output.

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 of the sub-sector.

Gross earnings in the sub-sector went up eight percent to P232 billion.

On the other hand, the fisheries sub-sector, which made up 16 percent of total farm output, declined 1.13 in volume but the value increased nine percent to P265 billion.

The decrease was due to the limited supply of fingerlings and the use of inferior quality of fingerlings resulted in smaller sizes of harvest. Some fish pens were also affected by heavy rains and strong winds brought about by the typhoons.

Meanwhile, average farm-gate prices last year went up 5.62 percent with price gains recorded in all sub-sectors except poultry.

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