Farm sector to post anemic growth this year | Inquirer Business

Farm sector to post anemic growth this year

By: - Reporter / @kocampoINQ
/ 05:28 AM December 20, 2018

The Department of Agriculture (DA) will miss its growth target for this year following the series of typhoons that hit the country, the agriculture chief said.

In a year-end press briefing, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said the sector’s growth rate as of the third quarter was only 0.15 percent. This pales in comparison with the industry’s growth rate in the same period last year of 4.59 percent.

For this year, DA was looking at an annual growth rate of 2.5 percent.


The official attributed the meager growth of the farm sector to the series of typhoons that ravaged agricultural lands, the strongest of which was tropical cyclone “Ompong,” which destroyed P26.7 billion worth of farm production—the highest since typhoon “Yolanda”—when it lashed at the Northern Luzon area, the country’s major rice-producing region.


In the Philippines, crops, especially rice, account for almost half of the agriculture sector’s overall growth.

Based on the agency’s accomplishment report, the crops and fisheries subsectors declined by 3.64 percent and 2.64 percent, respectively, while the livestock and poultry subsectors recorded increases of 2.15 percent and 5.45 percent, respectively.

“We always factor in typhoons in our planning, [but] we were hit by the second strongest typhoon in the country,” Piñol said.

Annually, the Philippines is visited by an average of 20 typhoons. This year, 19 typhoons have already entered the country.

Nonetheless, the secretary said they were confident that the agency would be able to increase the average yield for rice per hectare at 6 metric tons from the current average of 3.76 MT/ha.

Economic managers had asked DA to at least maintain a growth rate of 2 percent annually to keep up with the country’s growing population.


Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia has blamed the sector for dragging down the country’s economic growth with its anemic performance and has urged the agency to conduct a “comprehensive review” of its policies.

“I think 2 percent [annual growth rate] is doable. We are confident that we could hit it given the fact that there are already specific interventions. In as far as this administration is concerned, agriculture is not only production but also poverty alleviation,” Piñol said.

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TAGS: Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, Department of Agriculture (DA)

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