El Niño feared stifling PH agri output in ’24

El Niño feared stifling PH agri output in 2024

/ 02:03 AM January 31, 2024

El Niño feared stifling PH agri output in 2024

Dry lands brought by El Niño in Barangay Gabawan, Daraga, Albay province. —MARK ALVIC ESPLANA

MANILA , Philippines  -The prolonged dry spell caused by the El Niño climate pattern may pull down agriculture production this year despite improved output in the fourth quarter of 2023, according to economists.

Michael Ricafort, chief economist at Rizal Commercial Banking Corp., told the Inquirer on Tuesday that El Niño, characterized by long periods of drought, could reduce rainfall and consequently cut the production of rice and other agricultural products.


“El Niño would be a risk factor, or drag, in terms of reduced rainfall that reduces agricultural output and production until the second quarter of 2024,” Ricafort said in a text message.


This projection came after the Philippine Statistics Authority reported that the agriculture sector improved by 0.7 percent in the last quarter of 2023, driven mainly by higher crop, poultry and livestock production.

READ: Agri output up 0.7% in Q4 of 2023

This brought the overall value of agriculture to P493.73 billion, up from P490.06 billion the previous year, the PSA said.

Rice production

Poultry production expanded by 7.8 percent to P67.65 billion as all commodities “recorded improvements in the value of production.” This accounted for 13.7 percent of the total agriculture output.

Crop production, which accounted for the majority of the total agriculture output at 58.7 percent, rose slightly to P290 billion from P289.9 billion.

Livestock likewise improved by 2.7 percent to P72.1 billion. Palay output likewise reached 20.06 million metric tons (MMT), the highest such production of the national staple in three months, in the fourth quarter.


This translates to 13.2 MMT of rice, which the Department of Agriculture said could reduce rice import volume to 3.5 MMT from 3.8 MMT in 2022.Ricafort explained that the overall improvement could be attributed to the “unusually lower number of typhoons” that entered the country last year, resulting in less storm damage to agriculture.

READ: DA reports increase in rice production

“Furthermore, various government initiatives and intervention measures to boost rice and overall agricultural productivity in recent months also partly supported the improvement in agricultural production growth,” he said.

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The fisheries subsector was the sole outlier, contracting by 5.2 percent year-on-year to P63.97 billion. INQ

TAGS: Business, El Niño, farm production, outlook

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