PHILIPPINES - Despite the devastation brought about by Typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) during the latter part in 2013, Philippine agriculture still managed to grow by 0.67 percent in its output for the first quarter of this year, the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) recently reported.
Overall, the agriculture grossed P386.6 billion at current prices, a 10.75 per cent higher than the gross earnings recorded last year brought about by output increases in the crops, livestock and poultry subsectors, negating the contraction in the fisheries subsectors, BAS reported.
Crop production improved by 1.53 per cent, compared with last year, and contributed 54.40 per cent to the total agricultural production. Palay production went up by 3.28 per cent while corn posted an increase of 1.33 per cent during the reference period.
For its value, the crop subsector produced some P225.8 billion at current prices, a notable increase of 17.58 per cent from the year-ago level.
The general growth pattern in production of the crop subsector was pulled down by contraction in the production of coconut, coffee, abaca, and the fisheries sector, BAS noted, adding that “the slowdown in the sector’s growth could be traced to the devastating effects of typhoons that hit the country last year.”
Sugarcane production went up by 5.54 per cent compared with last year’s reporting period, caused by favorable weather conditions in Capiz, negros Occidental, Bukidnon and Iloilo.
The livestock subsector grew by 1.20 per cent in the reporting period, with a 15.44 per cent share in the total agricultural output. The hog industry mainly pulled up the production with its 1.25 per cent growth, driven by increased demand of pork from industrial areas in Bataan and Metro Manila. Carabao and cattle reported 0.10 and 0.82 per cent increase respectively.
The livestock growth translated into P57.4 billion at current prices, and a 5.58 per cent higher compared with last year.
The poultry subsector with its 14.46 per cent contribution to the total agricultural growth registered a 1.33 per cent improvement compared with last year. Chicken meat with its 2.50 per cent growth led the improvement, followed by duck meat at 0.10 per cent. Chicken egg production however posted 2.36 per cent decrease.
The poultry subsector grossed P45.7 billion at current prices, a 5.29 per cent improvement from last year.
With Typhoon Yolanda destroying thousands of fishing boats in the Eastern Visayas region which produces almost 25 per cent of the aquatic resources in the country, the fisheries sector contracted by 3.25 per cent for the first quarter of the year. Its share in the total agricultural produce is 15.70 per cent.
Almost all of the major aquatic resources posted decreases in production, from roundscad (galungong) and milkfish to tiger prawn and seaweeds, except for skipjack tuna which expanded by 4.62 per cent.
Production of remaining species declined by 5.70 per cent during the reference period due to occurrence of low pressure area in most of the fishing regions, including the fishing ban on sardines in Zamboanga which is needed to stabilize the food supply for Tuna and other fish-eating species.
At P57.8 billion gross value, the fisheries production amount was 2.64 lower than last year.
In its first quarter outlook for palay and corn BAS also released recently, an increase of 3.89 percent for palay and 4.88 percent for corn in the first half of 2014 is expected, basing its calculation on the outputs of the main grain crops surpassing their 2013 levels by 3.28 per cent and 1.33 per cent respectively.
TheFishSite News Desk