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Agri sector fared poorly in last 5 years

By: - Reporter / @kocampoINQ
/ 04:08 AM August 02, 2021

The performance of the country’s agriculture sector for the past five years fell short of the Duterte administration’s goal to raise the industry’s productivity by at least 2.5 percent yearly as it was overwhelmed by several challenges.

Based on the Philippine Statistic Authority’s (PSA) report, “Agricultural Indicators System: Output and Productivity,” no agriculture subsector was able to log an average growth rate of 2.5 percent between 2016 and 2020.

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Only the crops and poultry subsectors managed to grow on average during the period. Other subsectors were crippled by several factors including the African swine fever for hogs, Panama disease for bananas, and ultimately, the coronavirus pandemic.

According to PSA data, the production of staple crops such as palay and corn grew by an average of 2.4 percent and 3.1 percent, respectively.

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Meanwhile, the production of livestock was significantly dampened by the persistence of ASF. On average, the industry dipped by 0.9 percent in the last five years as gains were pulled down by the entry of the viral hog disease in the country in 2019.

The country’s poultry output rose by 2.1 percent on average, although its productivity also declined by 6 percent between 2019 and 2020 because of the pandemic.

Restrictions imposed by the government forced several food establishments to close, which resulted in a chicken glut.

Fisheries production also declined from 2016 to 2020. Commercial fishery slid by 1 percent, while municipal fishery declined by 0.8 percent. Only aquaculture was able to post growth at an average of 1.4 percent.

Several commodities saw a decline in production by 2020 because of COVID-19 such as export crops like bananas and coconut. Basic food crops, however, grew from increased demand for basic food items because of the government’s and private sectors’ intensified relief drives during the height of the lockdowns.

This year may not be any different for the agriculture sector as the pandemic persists, worsened by the onslaught of natural disasters and the continuous spread of animal and pest diseases.

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