Farm sector posts 3.92% growth in 2008

Published by rudy Date posted on January 17, 2009

The agriculture sector managed to post a growth of 3.92 percent last year, with agricultural production value rising by almost 20 percent to P1.16 trillion.

The sector grew 4.68 percent in 2007.

According to Agriculture Secretary Arthur C. Yap, “the growth of Philippine agriculture in 2008 was slightly lower than expected, largely because of external factors that have hurt productivity not only in the country but in the rest of the world as well.”

Yap said external shocks that affected palay and corn yields include the 30 percent drop in fertilizer use among farmers because of the prohibitive costs of the inputs; super typhoons; changing climate patterns that have altered planting periods and cut down harvests; and high fuel prices during the first semester.

Yap said he expects the agriculture sector to fare better this year as prices of commonly used fertilizers have begun to drop by as much as 53 percent at the start of the year because of the softening of crude oil prices in the world market.

Except for livestock, all sub-sectors registered production increases led by fisheries, which grew 5.78 percent last year.

The Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) reported that the crops subs-sector grew by 4.05 percent last year, with palay and corn production posting a growth of 3.54 percent and 2.82 percent, respectively, despite a decline in fertilizer usage among farmers.

Palay production output last year reached 16.82 million metric tons (MT) or 3.54 percent higher than the 2007 harvest of 16.24 million MT.

Corn output increased 2.82 percent, totalling 6.93 million MT in 2008.

Coconut production posted a 2.98 percent increase last year. Pineapple grew by 9.57 percent, banana by 16.06 percent and sugarcane by 22.62 percent in 2008.

The crops sub-sector accounts for 47.71 percent of total agricultural production.

BAS Director Romeo Recide reported that the fisheries sub-sector was again the primary growth driver in 2008, posting a 5.78 percent production increase and contributing 25.82 percent of the total agricultural output,

The fisheries sub-sector generated gross earnings of   P21.5.5 billion at current prices or 19.37 percent higher than the 2007 level.

Aquaculture was the biggest gainer with output expanding by 8.71 percent, while production in commercial and municipal fisheries rose 2.78 percent and 2.19 percent, respectively, Recide said.

The livestock sub-sector contracted by 1.06 percent primarily due to lower hog production last year, with its value recorded at P181 billion at current prices, representing a 10.98 percent hike from the 2007 level.

The poultry sub-sector did not follow the livestock sub-sector, instead posting a 4.71 percent increase in output,  with chicken production rising 5.76 percent in 2008.  

The poultry sub-sector, with its 14.11 percent share in the total agricultural output, is valued at P130.9 billion at current prices or 10.71 percent higher than the previous year’s record.–Marianne V. Go, Philippine Star

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