Farm sector seen missing ’18 growth targets
The country’s farm sector is expected to post a measly growth this year given the trail of destruction left by Typhoon “Ompong.”
In an interview, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said that with the P27-billion damage incurred by the agriculture sector, it might not be able to sustain its growth momentum and that it would take at least until early next year to recover.
“I am not very comfortable with what happened with Ompong. We might be able to recover early next year. We don’t think we would post negative growth but we’re expecting a slowdown,” he said.
He noted that for the rice sector alone, the agency had estimated losses of about 400,000 metric tons of rice.
For this year, the Department of Agriculture (DA) is targeting to at least hit a 4-percent growth. However, it grew by only 0.58 percent in the first semester of the year. This was slower than the 5.71-percent growth it achieved in the same period last year.
Nonetheless, Piñol said they were expecting to reap the benefits of the tariffication of the rice industry, which called for the lifting of import quotas to make way for a deregulated industry.
The tariff that would be collected is expected to help improve the competitiveness of local rice producers.
“This won’t be a chopsuey agriculture program anymore,” the secretary said.
“All of our major programs right now have road maps and we’re hoping to improve our performance,” he added.
The DA has recently engaged in a Food Summit with local government units to identify the strengths and weaknesses of every region in the country in terms of food production. Piñol is hoping that through the program, the country would improve its food positioning and would be able to avoid shortage in food supply and artificial increases in the prices of food items.
Inquirer calls for support for the victims of typhoon Ompong
Responding to appeals for help, the Philippine Daily Inquirer is extending its relief to victims of the recent typhoon Ompong.
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