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Philippine agriculture makes ‘respectable performance’

tempo editorial nov302013

The country’s agricultural output grew by 1.10 percent in the first nine months of the year, a development that the Department of Agriculture (DA) considers a “respectable performance” in light of the challenges confronting the nation.

In the recent Gawad Saka Awards at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala said production gains were recorded in the livestock, poultry, and fisheries subsectors. The livestock subsector was the biggest gainer with a 10.67 percent increase, from P150.74 million last year to P166.83 million this year. Poultry surged by 4.31 percent on account of higher output for chicken (4.97 percent), chicken egg (2.5 percent), and duck egg (3.22 percent). The fisheries subsector posted an impressive 3.38 percent growth. This was attributed to increased harvests of milkfish (288,320 metric tons (MT) or 5.49 percent) and tilapia (240,820 MT or 2.39 percent) as a result of the dispersal by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) of good-quality fingerlings, as well as the expansion of several mariculture areas in Pangasinan.

Dairy production also climbed to 5.16 percent on account of increased milking efficiency and higher population of dairy animals. Corn production went up by 0.40 percent, recording 5.92 million MT in the first nine months of this year. This was attributed to significant improvements in production, harvest area, and yield in Northern Mindanao, SOCCSKSARGEN, and Western Visayas. The DA said the seed assistance provided by the local government units in Northern Mindanao to corn farmers encouraged them to plant corn. SOCCSKSARGEN used more hybrid seeds and fertilizer. Better prices, availability of seeds due to LGU intervention and presence of financiers were the reasons cited for the improved production in Western Visayas.

Secretary Alcala conveyed the government’s appreciation to all the farmers and other sectors who made this growth possible. He said no matter how humble, the country’s agricultural gains serve to enhance food security for the nation and improve income for the farmers, fishermen, and other food producers. He vowed to implement more people-centered policies and programs to boost food production.

We congratulate the Department of Agriculture headed by Secretary Proceso J. Alcala, together with our industrious farmers, fishermen, and other food producers, for a job well done in our Republic of the Philippines. CONGRATULATIONS AND MABUHAY!