Agriculture sector rebounds 5.3%

Agriculture and fishery production rebounded with a 5.28-percent growth in the first quarter from a contraction of 4.62 percent a year ago, the Philippine Statistics Authority said Monday.

The agriculture sector, which accounts for more than a tenth of the gross domestic product, is expected to contribute to GDP growth in January to March, after dragging economic performance in the past quarters.

“The 5.28-percent growth of the agri sector could be attributed to the blessings of a good climate and favorable conditions in the farming sector. It is also an indication that we are on the right track in agri and fisheries development,” said Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol. 

Data from PSA showed that at current prices, the gross value of agricultural production hit P407.6 billion, up by 8.79 percent from P374.67 recorded in the same period last year.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol
Crop production surged 8.3 percent in January to March, a reversal of the 8.4-percent contraction in the same period last year.  

Palay (unmilled rice) production went up 12.4 percent in the first quarter to 4.42 million metric tons from 3.93 million MT last year.

“This was attributed to the increases in area harvested in most regions due to availability of eater in irrigated farms and sufficiency of rainfall in both rain-fed and upland farms. In addition, higher yield level was observed in most regions and this was brought about by the usage of high yielding varieties,” PSA said.

Corn production also increased 23.4 percent to 2.37 million MT from 1.91 million MT as a result of increased plantings induced by the sufficiency of water, higher demand for white corn in Ilocos Region and additional provision of quality seeds.

Output increments were also reported for sugarcane, banana, cassava, garlic, peanut, tomato and eggplant.

Coconut production, however, went down 2.3 percent as the effects of dry spell last year resulted in lesser nuts developed in Davao del Sur and Sultan Kudarat. In Basilan, some bearing trees were cut down due to the occurrence of “cocolisap.”

Lower outputs were also recorded for coffee, mango, calamansi, sweet potato, cabbage, abaca and other vegetables.

The livestock subsector grew 3.3 percent in the first quarter, led by higher hog production.  The poultry subsector grew 1.9 percent as chicken production increased 1.5 percent during the period.

“This was explained by the notable increases in the number of chicken broilers dressed in the dressing plants in most regions during the period,” PSA said. 

The fisheries subsector posted an output increment of 0.73 percent in the first quarter, an improvement from a 6.07-percent contraction in the same period last year.

Output increments were recorded for tilapia, skipjack, yellowfin tuna and seaweed. 

The Agriculture Department expressed hope the positive performance of the sector would be sustained in the second quarter.

“Actually the second quarter is almost over and we are expecting a yield of 4 point something million [tons for rice]. It looks like the growth will be proportionate and will be around 5 percent,” said Agriculture Undersecretary for operations Ariel Cayanan.

Topics: Agriculture sector , fishery production , Philippine Statistics Authority , gross domestic product , GDP , Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol
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