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Growth in Philippine agricultural production

Philippine Agriculture output grew 1.1% to P1 trillion in first nine months of 2013, registering gains in livestock, poultry, and fisheries subsectors. The Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (DA-BAS), which released the data on November 15, 2013, said the figure was 1.64% higher than the 2012 earnings. Farmgate prices went up by 0.54%, with livestock prices up by 8.62%, poultry by 1.0%, and fisheries by 2.0%. Farm output accounts for a fifth of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

The livestock subsector, which accounted for 16% of total output, grew by 1.89% due to expansion of cattle and hog production. Poultry, accounting for 15% of agriculture, was also on the uptrend by 4.31% due to higher output for chicken (4.97%), chicken egg (2.5%), and duck egg (3.22%). The fisheries subsector posted a 3.38% growth, fueled by increased harvests of milkfish, by 5.49% to 288,320 metric tons (MT) and tilapia by 2.39% to 240,820 MT, due to the continuing dispersal by Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources of good-quality fingerlings, as well as expansion of Pangasinan mariculture areas. Fisheries grossed P181.7 billion, up by 5.45% from last year’s figure.

Corn production recorded an increase of 5.92 million MT or 0.40% in first nine months of 2013, attributed to significant improvements in production, harvest area and yield in Northern Mindanao, Soccsksargen, and Western Visayas. The Bureau of Agricultural Statistics, however, noted a decrease in the crops subsector output, particularly in palay and high-value crops, largely due to unfavorable weather conditions. Palay output in the nine-month period reached 11.36 million MT, which was 1.12% lower than last year’s 11.5 million MT.

Hefty government spending in agricultural infrastructure in 2013, including farm-to-market roads, bolstered the goal of increased productivity and improved food security. A sustainable and competitive agriculture sector is the key focus of the Philippine Development Plan, the government’s vision for inclusive growth. The government embarked on road construction and upgrade projects, investing P8.3 billion in new farm-to-market roads this year, connecting 1,147 barangays to major highway networks. The Department of Agriculture expects the agricultural sector to reach its goal of a production increase of 3% to 5% this year, faster than the 2.9% last year.

The Manila Bulletin, led by its Chairman of the Board of Directors Dr. Emilio T. Yap, President and Publisher Atty. Hermogenes P. Pobre, Executive Vice President Dr. Emilio C. Yap III, Editor-in-Chief Dr. Cris J. Icban Jr., Business Editor Loreto D. Cabañes, Officers and Employees, Congratulate the Department of Agriculture headed by Secretary Proceso J. Alcala and Bureau of Agricultural Statistics Director Romeo S. Recide, in their joint undertakings in providing people-centered policies to enhance food security, raise farm output, and more income for farmers, fisherfolk, and women in rural communities in our Republic of the Philippines. CONGRATULATIONS AND MABUHAY!