DA cuts 2021 agriculture growth target to 2%
The Department of Agriculture (DA) has tempered its growth target for this year to 2 percent from 2.5 percent, factoring in the effects of the pandemic, the African swine fever and the onslaught of typhoons.
“We hope to achieve a comfortable growth [rate] in sync with population growth. Two percent would be a good target,” Agriculture Secretary William Dar said in a briefing on Wednesday.
Dar noted that the country’s palay production reached its highest so far in history in the first quarter at 4.63 million metric tons. Notwithstanding calamities, the agency is hoping to reach a record production of 20.4 million MT by year-end.
Despite the target adjustment, a 2-percent growth rate will still be challenging for an industry that continues to be beset with crop and animal diseases, overflowing imports and natural disasters.
Last year, the industry shrank by 1.2 percent as the decline in production across all commodities in the last quarter pulled down gains made in previous months.
In the first quarter of this year, it further contracted by 3.3 percent due to the significant drop in the output of poultry and livestock subsectors.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said agriculture must grow by at least 2.5 percent to keep up with the food demand of the country’s growing population. Over the past five years, however, it grew by an average of only 0.9 percent. INQ
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