PSA: Agri sector growth slower in Q1 of 2019
MANILA, Philippines–The country’s agriculture sector recorded a slower growth in the first quarter of the year, with both gains and cuts recorded in production while the value of farm produce posted its first decline since 2016.
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported that agriculture grew by 0.67 percent during the three-month period against 1.08 percent in the same quarter last year, which could mean a worsening performance following the dismal growth observed in 2018 when farm output fell short of reaching the government’s targets.
The Department of Agriculture is aiming to reach an annual growth rate of 3.5 percent this year. In 2018, it set its target at 4 percent but only grew at 1.04 percent.
Crops, which accounted for more than half of the country’s total farm output, contracted by 1.01 percent following the adverse effects of dry spell brought by the El Niño phenomenon. Production of major crops like palay and corn decreased by 4.46 percent and 2.07 percent, respectively.
The sub-sector was able to rake in P235.4 billion, down 6.41 percent from the same period last year. The Rice Import Liberalization Law, which allows the unimpeded importation of rice in the country, has led for prices of palay to drop by 7.39 percent.
Growth in poultry production, accounting for 16.74 percent of total output, slowed down to 5.41 percent from 6.99 percent to settle at P55.4 billion.
Similarly, growth in livestock production – 17.11 percent of total – eased to 1.25 percent from 1.64 percent previously to bring in P75.4 billion.
The fisheries sub-sector continued its positive turnaround since last quarter from recording a series of declines in production since 2014. For this period, it was able to increase output by 0.97 percent, which contributed 13.45 percent to the total output with prices amounting to P63.5 billion.
Except for fisheries, all sub-sectors recorded a drop in prices. Both the livestock and poultry sub-sectors were affected by a surplus in production, which the market was not able to absorb well.
Industry groups said depressed farm-gate prices were caused by the continuous entry of imported agricultural products in the country, which only worsened the supply glut of certain commodities.
Prices are vital in encouraging local producers to continue their operations. Farmers, especially, are inclined to shift to planting other crops that are more profitable. /jpv
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