Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Philippine farm sector posts lower-than-expected growth in 2009
The country’s farm sector posted a lower-than-expected production growth rate of 0.37 percent in 2009 as strong typhoons significantly slashed the output of farmers and fisherfolk from October to December.
The farm sector’s 2009 output was lower than the low-end of the 0.5- to 1.5-percent growth rate which the Department of Agriculture (DA) projected for last year. The increase in the sector’s production last year was significantly slower than the 3.8 percent recorded in January to December 2008. “The gains of the first three quarters were cut by huge production losses during the fourth quarter of 2009,” said Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap in a statement.
Farm production for October to December 2009 declined by 2.43 percent, with paddy-rice production getting slashed by 13.88 percent to 5.36 million metric tons (MMT) during the period, as against the 6.22 MMT produced in October to December 2008.
“The heavily affected [rice-producing] regions were Ilocos, Central Luzon and Calabarzon,” said the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) in its official report.
For the whole of 2009, palay production went down by 3.31 percent to 16.26 MMT. The sector accounted for 16 percent of total farm output in 2009.
The corn subsector fared better last year as production grew by 1.53 percent to 7.03 MMT.
“Output gains were realized in the second half of 2009, particularly in Cagayan Valley, Northern Mindanao and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. Expansion in area harvested was recorded in Cagayan Valley as a result of recovery of corn farms from Typhoon Karen last year,” said BAS in a report.
Figures released by the DA showed that the crops subsector, which accounts for 46.8 percent of total farm output, registered a 1.42-percent decline in production in 2009.
Meanwhile, the livestock subsector recovered from last year’s downturn and grew by 1.24 percent last year. The subsector accounted for 12.47 percent of total farm output.
Hog production recovered from last year’s slump and grew by 1.16 percent while the outputs in cattle and dairy farms went up by 2.5 percent and 3.33 percent, respectively.
The poultry subsector’s production grew by 1.82 percent last year. The subsector accounted for 14.33 percent of total farm output. Chicken production went up by 1.53 percent. Chicken egg also put up a 5.04-percent production gain during the period.
The fisheries subsector, which accounted for 26.4 percent of total farm output, expanded by 2.45 percent during the period. The production growth rate in 2009 was slower compared with the 5.81 percent registered in 2008 due to the lower production in aquaculture and municipal fisheries. This, said BAS, is due to the damage caused by weather disturbances during the fourth quarter of 2009.
At current prices, the country’s farm sector grossed P1.2 trillion, representing a 2.18-percent increase from the 2008 level. The agriculture sector accounts for one-fifth of the country’s gross domestic product, or the total amount of goods and products produced within a country’s border.
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