PH misses ’12 farm output growth target
Contraction in fisheries sector dragged performanceBy Niña P. Calleja |Philippine Daily Inquirer
The country’s farm output grew by 2.92 percent in 2012, falling short of the government’s growth target of between 3 percent and 5 percent.
Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala said this year’s agriculture production was pulled down by the 0.04 percent contraction in the fisheries sector, which was brought about by the 3.9-percent decline in the municipal fish catch.
“It’s still in the negative but we are projecting the fisheries sector to post growth by the second semester (this year),” Alcala said.
Alcala said the Philippines was recently granted special access to a portion of the high seas in the Pacific Ocean until February 2014, giving commercial vessels more time to fish for tuna.
In contrast, three agriculture subsectors—crops, poultry and livestock—which accounted for about 82 percent of the total farm output, posted a combined growth of 3.6 percent in 2012.
Alcala noted the record-high performance of the rice and corn subsectors in 2012 despite the adverse effects of the typhoons that hit the country last year.
Harvests of palay (unmilled rice) and corn in 2012 reached 18.03 million metric tons and 7.41 million MT, respectively.
The palay harvest, which was 8.1 percent higher than the 2011 output of 16.68 million MT, was the highest since 2000, according to the Department of Agriculture.
Alcala attributed the palay production growth to the 3.4-percent increase in the area harvested to 4.69 million hectares from 4.54 million ha in 2011.
“The target to produce 20 million MT by 2013 to achieve self-sufficiency is no longer impossible,” Alcala said in a briefing on Monday.
Programs of the DA such as the early cropping and third cropping systems encouraged farmers to plant and increase production.
“Our efforts are paying off, and we would like to implement similar early planting and QTA (Quick-turn-around) schemes and cover more areas this year, and attain our sufficiency target of 20 million MT by end of 2013,” Alcala said.
The average harvest of palay per hectare also increased by 4.3 percent to 3.84 MT from 3.68 MT in 2011.
The DA said this was due to innovative schemes to make high-quality seeds accessible to farmers.