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Agriculture sector grew 1.2% in 2013

Agriculture and fishery production grew 1.15 percent year-on-year in 2013, slower than the 2.9-percent expansion in 2012, as the country suffered from several natural calamities that damaged billions of pesos worth of crops last year.

“Considering a very challenging year, this growth is significant. It also reminds us how weather-dependent agriculture is, and therefore the need to promote and support diversification and value-adding in food processing is stronger than ever before,” said Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala.

The 2013 growth, however, fell short of the government’s target of 3 percent to 5 percent.

Agriculture normally accounts for less than a fifth of the gross domestic product in the Philippines and has dragged overall growth over the past several years, a result of the sector’s vulnerability to typhoons and lack of necessary rural infrastructure.

The Agriculture Department said the growth of the sector in the fourth quarter of 2013 also slowed to 1.13 percent from 4.8 percent a year ago, mainly due to the 4.62-percent contraction of fishery output in the quarter when super typhoon Yolanda hit the central parts of the country.

The agency said the total value of farm and fishery production reached P1.5 trillion in 2013, based on current prices, up by 3.51 percent from P1.4 trillion in 2012.

The crops subsector, which accounted for more than half of the total agricultural output, grew by 0.09 percent from 4.15 percent previously.

Palay (unmilled rice) production increased 2.26 percent from 18.03 million metric tons in 2012 to 18.4 million MT in 2013 due to the expansion in harvest areas and improvement in yield in Central Luzon, Caraga, Bicol region and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Corn production, however, fell 0.4 percent to 7.3 million MT in 2013 from 7.4 million MT in 2012.  Coconut production also dropped 3.26 to 15.3 million MT from 15.8 million MT. 

Lower production was also observed for sugarcane, banana and coffee.

The poultry and livestock subsector grew by 4.20 and 1.75 percent, respectively, while the fisheries sector rebounded with a 1.23-percent growth in 2013.

The growth in the fishery sector in 2013 was attributed to higher production of roundscad, milkfish, tilapia and yellowfin tuna.

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