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Farm sector shrinks 4.5% in 1st quarter

Philippine agricultural production shrank to P193.1 billion in the first quarter this year, 4.5 percent less than P202.3 billion in the same period of 2015, as dry conditions ravaged crops.

Agricultural performance dived after growing 1.8 percent in the first quarter last year.

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“Damage from Typhoons ‘Lando’ and ‘Nona’ last year and the prolonged dry spell that characterized the El Niño phenomenon adversely affected the production performance of the sector during the (first quarter),” the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said in its latest agricultural production report.

According to the PSA, output in crops—the subsector that suffered the most from the effects of the strong El Niño—fell by 8.6 percent this year after growing 1.7 percent last year.

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PSA data showed that from January to March, production of four out of five of the country’s top five crops contracted even as their farmgate prices increased. In terms of current prices, the drop in three-month output slowed to 1.5 percent at P375.2 billion from 1.7 percent at P380.8 billion in January-March 2015. On the other hand, average farmgate prices turned around to gain 3.2 percent this year after losing 3.4 percent last year.

The crops subsector, which represented 52 percent of total output value in constant prices, amounted to P100.5 billion.

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