Agri output slightly up in 2019

MANILA–The Philippine agriculture sector grew by 0.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019, bringing full-year growth to 0.7 percent, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported on Wednesday.

The full-year growth figure, which is slightly faster than the 0.6 percent growth rate posted in 2018, falls short of the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) target of at least 2.0 percent for 2019.

The PSA said production increases were noted for crops, poultry, and fisheries, while livestock production recorded a decrease from October to December.

Crop production, which accounted for 50.6 percent of the total agricultural output, grew by 1.0 percent during the quarter.

The total value of agricultural production amounted to PHP492 billion, which represented a 5.3 percent decline compared to the same quarter in 2018.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar noted that during the last months of 2019, the country was battered by typhoons, such as Tisoy and Ursula, as well as the spread of the African swine fever (ASF).

PSA data showed that livestock, representing 6.2 percent of the total agricultural production, decreased by 8.5 percent. Hog production dropped by 9.8 percent during the quarter.

“Despite these challenges the agriculture grew by 0.4 percent, reflecting our strong resilience and resolve to rise above any adversity,” Dar said in a statement.

“We will continue to build on the strong foundation in partnership with the local government units, private sector, farmers’ and fishers’ groups, and academe to catapult the entire agriculture sector this year and beyond,” he added.

Dar said the outcomes of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) will be reflected in the first half of 2020.

“We hope the agriculture sector will perform much better in 2020 with good planning and proper implementation of new and existing programs,” Dar said.  Filane Mikee Cervantes /PNA –