Agriculture sector grew 0.7% in H1
Philippine agricultural production managed to remain afloat in the first semester, growing by 0.7 percent year-on-year to P403.8 billion in constant prices even as dry conditions due to the El Niño weather phenomenon ravaged some provinces.
Growth was much slower than the 1.8 percent recorded in the first half of 2014, which was traced to a rebound of the crops subsector.
This year, crop output returned to a contraction of 0.5 percent, pulled down by a weak performance in the second quarter.
In April to June, the production of crops fell by 3 percent year-on-year as “intense heat that prevailed during the period pulled down production of palay and corn.”
In terms of current prices, first-semester output dropped by 3.4 percent to P752.5 billion as farmgate prices also turned downward.
Average farmgate prices lost 4.1 percent this year after jumping 9.9 percent in the same period last year.
The crops subsector, which represented 54 percent of total output value in current prices, contributed P419 billion.
Palay farms alone, which represented 18.5 percent of total output, turned out P145 billion—still the biggest amount for any single farm product—but this was down by 14 percent from a year ago.
“The significant reduction in palay production was due to a contraction in harvest area and reduction in yield as a result of the prolonged dry spell, insufficient rainfall and intense heat,” the PSA said.
In Soccsksargen (South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos City) region, for example, the National Irrigation Administration-run Aris Dam 2 had to be shut down to allow for the rehabilitation of canals in areas that bore the brunt of the hot weather, leading to the reduction in harvest area and in delayed cropping.
“In Bukidnon, yield reduction was caused by insufficiency of irrigation water from the National Irrigation System,” the PSA said.
Rice farms in the provinces of Mindoro had to resort to early harvesting, with the intense heat and insufficient water supply resulting in lesser area harvested and lower yield. The same conditions prevailed in the Caraga and Western Visayas regions during the crop’s vegetative stage, leading to the same results.
Also, first-half corn output decreased by 4.3 percent to P42.9 billion while coconut production fell by 12 percent to P44.2 billion
The growth in poultry production, accounting for 12 percent of total output, slowed to 1.8 percent from 5 percent to settle at about P93.2 billion. Livestock production—17 percent of total—improved by 2.4 percent to P121.5 billion.
In fisheries, which also accounted for 17 percent of nationwide output, the harvest decreased by 2.2 percent to reach P118.9 billion.
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