PSA: Q2 farm output contracted by 1.3%
MANILA -The substantial decline in fisheries production amid lower demand and higher input costs led to the contraction in the country’s farm output in the second quarter, according to data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). The PSA reported Wednesday that agricultural production shrank by 1.3 percent in the three months ending June from the slight dip of 0.5 percent recorded in the same period a year ago. This brought the value of agriculture and fishery production at constant 2018 prices to P427.69 billion in the second quarter from P433.11 billion in the same period last year. The contraction was mainly attributed to the 14.2-percent drop in the output of the fisheries sector. Production drops were recorded for all major fish species, except for round scad (galunggong) and tiger prawn, led by bigeye tuna (tambakol/bariles) and skipjack (gulyasan), which plunged by 49.9 percent and 49.2 percent, respectively. Philippine Association of Fish Producers Inc. chair David Villaluz said fishers were not producing as much as they are losing money due to the combined effects of higher production costs, the slump in wholesale prices, the adverse impact of climate change, lower demand and the entry of imported fish. “Expect more reduction in the production by next year kung hindi natin maayos itong market natin (if the market won’t improve),” he said.
On the other hand, there were gains seen in the output of crops (1.2 percent), livestock (0.7 percent) and poultry (1.5 percent).In particular, there was sluggish growth in the swine sector’s output due to the sporadic outbreaks of African swine fever and the unregulated influx of imported pork, according to Pork Producers Federation of the Philippines Inc. Rolando Tambago. National Federation of Hog Farmers Inc. president Chester Warren Tan, meanwhile, said that despite the meager increase in livestock output, this was still considered a “success” because of farm expansion of and the industry’s continued repopulation efforts.