Gov’t sees sustained farm sector recovery | Inquirer Business

Gov’t sees sustained farm sector recovery

/ 02:05 AM December 20, 2022

The Department of Agriculture (DA) is counting on livestock growers to allow the farm sector to end on a positive note this year, reversing the slowdown seen last year.

Agriculture Undersecretary Mercedita Sombilla expects the farm sector, led by the livestock subsector, to increase output by 1.2 to 1.5 percent for the full year, versus the 1.7-percent contraction recorded in 2021.

For 2023, the essential agriculture sector was projected to grow at a faster pace of 2.3 to 2.5 percent.


Sombilla said the DA was hoping that the crop subsector, particularly rice, would sustain higher production amid challenges arising from skyrocketing prices of fuel and fertilizer.


“Hopefully, no more typhoons will hit the country,” she told reporters. “The main problem is that fertilizer and fuel prices remain high.”

Super Typhoon “Paeng,” the latest weather disturbance to hit the Philippines this year, wiped out P3.41 billion worth of agricultural output. Rice farmers suffered the most damage from Paeng, estimated at P2.5 billion covering 185,736 metric tons.

Sombilla said the DA was optimistic about the recovery of the palay subsector amid the slew of typhoons that have ravaged farm lands throughout this year.

In the third quarter, farm production expanded by 1.8 percent against a decline of 2.6 percent in the same period a year prior, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported. This marked a turnaround from the 0.6-percent drop in the second quarter and a slight contraction of 0.3 percent in the first quarter.

Poultry, equivalent to 15.2 percent of the total value, logged the largest output increase at 6.4 percent. All poultry commodities, except for duck, saw their production expand.

Livestock, with a share of 15.6 percent, gained 4 percent as improvements were recorded in most commodities.


Crops, which accounted for more than half of total agricultural output at 53.9 percent, inched up by 1.8 percent, driven by higher production of palay and corn.

Fisheries, however, decreased output by 4.2 percent. It has been on a downtrend in the last nine months.

Balancing act

Meanwhile, agriculture officials rallied behind President Marcos’ decision to extend the implementation of lower tariffs on imported food such as rice until end-2023.

Sombilla said the DA was attempting to strike a balance between importation and local production while considering the confluence of factors beyond its control such as typhoons, climate change and rising cost of inputs.

“We have to balance all of these with imports. Otherwise, as you have noticed, the inflation rate on food has always been on the rise and this affected the entire economy,” said Sombilla.

“All of these balancing acts are needed at least in the coming months,” said Agriculture Assistant Secretary Arnel de Mesa.

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Agriculture Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban said the DA would not issue any “special permit” for imports, especially in the first quarter, since the domestic harvest season would take place from January to March. INQ

TAGS: Business, farm output, Livestock industry, recovery

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