Thursday, 10 May 2012

PHL agriculture sector grows 1% in Q1

The agriculture sector grew by 1.08 percent at constant prices in the first quarter of the year, slower than the 4.17 percent posted in the first three months of 2011.

“We’re expecting farm output to rebound in the second quarter. Crops are doing okay despite a slight decline, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said in a press briefing Thursday.

“However, it is the four percent reduction in fisheries that dampened the total agricultural performance this quarter,” he added. 

The value of agriculture output in the first quarter amounted to P341.1 billion at current prices, down 3.14 percent from P352.1 billion a year earlier, the Department of Agriculture said in a statement released Thursday. 

The first quarter growth was “bannered by the poultry, livestock and crop subsectors, while fishery production contracted due to conservation measures and high operation costs,” the department said.

Palay 'on track'

Rice, the country’s staple food, declined by 1 percent to 3.99 million metric tons (MT) from the 4.037 million MT.

“Our palay production target remains on track, as we expect to harvest 3.846 million metric tons in the 2nd quarter based on standing crop, and another 3.413 million metric tons in the 3rd quarter based on planting intentions,” Alcala said.

Continuous rains in the Cagayan Valley and the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao as well as reports of early harvest in Western Visayas accounted for the slight decrease in rice production during the period.

In all, the Agriculture Department said the first semester palay production is forecast to reach 7.838 million MT or 3.4 percent more than a year earlier, while the January to September 2012 palay output may top 11.251 million MT, or 4.7 percent more than last year’s nine-month output of 10.746 million MT.

Other subsectors

Meanwhile, corn, the Philippines’ second staple food, posted a 5.38-percent increase to 2.017 million MT from 1.91 million MT recorded.

The increase in corn harvest was attributed to favorable weather conditions, increase in planted hectarage, and increase in the use of hybrid seeds.

Cash crops like coconut, banana, pineapple and abaca likewise posted an increase of 5.57 percent, 2 percent, 5.95 percent, and 1.99 percent, respectively.

The crops subsector–52.8 percent of total agriculture output–recorded a 3.17 percent gain in production having P195.1 billion worth of produce at current prices.

“The growth was mainly attributed to the 3.4 percent increase in hog production,” the Agriculture department said.

The poultry subsector–contributing 14 percent to total agricultural output–expanded by 7 percent, boosted by the 7.4 percent growth in chicken production.

“Finally, the fisheries subsector recorded a 4 percent decline, as conservation measures were implemented, particularly in Zamboanga Peninsula, where a moratorium was imposed early this year to allow fish species like tamban (sardines) to regenerate,” the statement read. —With Rouchelle Dinglasan/VS, GMA News

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