Farm sector shrank 0.24% in 1st half of 2019 | Inquirer Business

Farm sector shrank 0.24% in 1st half of 2019

By: - Reporter / @kocampoINQ
/ 05:30 AM August 08, 2019

The agriculture sector contracted by 0.24 percent in the first half of the year due to a drop in crop production brought by the El Niño dry spell.

The latest report of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) noted a 5.70-percent decline in the production of crops during the second quarter, which contribute almost half of the total farm output.


This dragged the minimal growth registered in the first quarter of 0.67 percent. For the second quarter, the industry shrank by 1.27 percent.

Palay and corn output fell by 5.82 percent and 8.73 percent in the second quarter, respectively. The PSA said these were traced to the “decreases in harvested areas and yields in most of the regions because of the adverse effects of the dry spell/drought.”


Other crops that posted declines were coconut, banana, peanut, mongo, cassava, sweet potato, tomato, cabbage and calamansi.

Consequently, the value of crops was down by 11.09 percent during the second quarter to P215.5 billion. This was also due to the decrease in the production of certain crops as farmers shifted to planting other plants that were more profitable.

Sugarcane posted the biggest contraction in value at 55.89 percent as a result of the drop in the volume of production. The industry has been struggling with costlier inputs and lower yields, which prompted the Sugar Regulatory Administration to recently allow the importation of 250,000 metric tons of the commodity.

Livestock production, which accounted for 17.41 percent of total farm output, recorded a 3.22-percent increase in the second quarter.

The sustained demand for pork pulled hog production up by 4.1 percent, which partially offset declines in cattle and goat production.

The subsector grossed P77.7 billion during the three-month period, down 1.96 percent from the previous year’s level.

Meanwhile, poultry output increased by 4.14 percent and accounted for 17.75 percent of total agricultural production. The culling of unproductive layers in certain regions contributed to the increase in total chicken output, while the closure of some duck farms led to a 4.46-decline in duck production.


However, the oversupply of both local and imported chicken pulled down its value to P56.7 billion, down 2.26 percent from a year ago.

The fisheries sector continued its growth momentum with a 1.9-percent increase in production during the period. The sector accounted for 17.41 percent of the total agricultural output as it benefited from good weather condition, expanded area usage and increased number of fingerlings.

At current prices, the value of fisheries production reached P74.7 billion, up 9.42 percent from the same period last year.

Earlier this year, former agriculture secretary Emmanuel Piñol downplayed the effects of the El Niño on the sector’s performance, noting that only 1 and 4 percent of the country’s total rice and corn production were severely affected by the phenomenon.

Newly appointed Agriculture Secretary William Dar said he was aiming to at least reverse the loss and post growth of 1.5 percent before the year ends.

Dar said he expected a better outcome during the period. To make up for what the sector lost, he said the agency was now preparing a “catch-up plan” that could help farmers maximize the next planting season.

“I am for increasing the hectarage devoted to hybrid rice technology so we can elevate our average yield to 6 metric tons per hectare from 4 MT,” he said.

“I am also open to fertilization. In the next two weeks, we must present a program on this to get more funding,” he added.

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TAGS: agriculture sector, crop production, El Niño dry spell, Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA)
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