Decline of crop output slows Q2 growth of agri sector
The country’s agricultural sector reported a modest growth in the second quarter of the year at 0.07 percent, mainly due to a decline in the output of the crops sub-sector, which is the biggest contributor to its total production.
A report released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed farm output growth slowed from the 1.47 percent logged in the first quarter as well as the 6.18 percent seen in the same period last year.
This is below the 2.5 to 3.5 percent annual growth rate target for the sector under the 2017-2022 Philippine Development Plan of the National Economic and Development Authority.
The deceleration is mainly attributed to the smaller production volume reported by the crops sub-sector which registered a 2.08 percent reduction in output. Nonetheless, the sub-sector still accounted for 49.65 percent of the total farm production but lower from the 53.76 percent share it posted last quarter.
Palay and corn production decreased by 1.44 percent and 3.42 percent, respectively, as farmers opted to harvest their crops during the latter part of the first quarter while some decided to shift to planting other crops. With limited water supply, the closure and rehabilitation of some canals by the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) also contributed to the reduction.
All these contributed to the decrease in the country’s crop production for the first semester by 0.44 percent.
Overall, the sub-sector was able to gross some P241.9 billion at current prices, a 4.06 percent increase from last year as prices for crops improved during the period.
Meanwhile, the output of the fisheries sector continued to decline by 0.05 percent. Its production for the first quarter also contracted by 4.61 percent. Lower output levels were noted among fish varieties like milkfish, round scad (galunggong), tiger prawn and yellowfin tuna as the sub-sector continued to be vulnerable to climate change.
According to PSA, the sudden changes in weather conditions and the arrival of typhoons “Domeng” and “Ester” in the country caused fish kills in marine cages and the overflowing of fish ponds.
Moreover, water pollution had been noted in the provinces of Northern Mindanao and Ilocos, which prompted operators to harvest earlier than expected. This resulted in smaller sizes of harvests.
At current prices, the fisheries sub-sector reported a gross value of P68.2 billion or 6.70 percent more than what it recorded in the same period last year. It contributed 16.85 percent in the total agricultural output.
On the other hand, both the livestock and poultry sub-sectors registered increases in their production at 1.88 percent and 5.14 percent, respectively.
With higher farm-gate prices recorded during the period, livestock producers were encouraged to raise more hogs especially. Its gross earnings at current prices amounted to P7.09 billion, up 9.85 percent from last year. This pushed the sub-sector’s gross output up for the first semester by 1.95 percent.
Similarly, all components of the poultry sector registered gains except for duck. PSA said this could be traced by the lower demand for duck meat in certain regions along with the lower volume of marketable stocks available for dressing.
At current prices, the sector grossed P58.1 billion or 4.87 percent higher than its previous year’s earnings. For the first semester, the poultry sector recorded a 5.19 percent growth.
Days before the release of the sector’s growth performance, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said the Department of Agriculture (DA) remained optimistic with the current state of the industry, noting that farmers are currently enjoying “good prices” at the farm-gate level.
On the average, prices received by farmers during the period increased by 5.48 percent. Except for the poultry sub-sector, price uptrends were noted in crops at 6.27 percent, livestock at 7.83 percent and fisheries at 6.75 percent.
PSA attributed these price increments as demand for food increases, which encouraged local producers to beef up production.
The agriculture sector plays a significant role in the Philippine economy, involving about 40 percent of Filipino workers. Regardless, it only contributed about 8.5 percent to the national economy in 2017, according to PSA. /jpv
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