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Cassava production down 5.6% in Q1-report.

Philippine cassava output continued to decline in the first quarter, as the lack of buyers due to low demand from feed manufacturers forced planters to shift to other crops, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said in a report.

In its quarterly report on the performance of agriculture sector published recently, the PSA said cassava production declined by 5.6 percent to 514,230 metric tons in the January-to-March period, from last year's 544,750 MT. The PSA noted that production in the fourth quarter of 2018 fell by 1.4 percent to 768,300 MT, from the previous year's 779,210 MT.

Output in the first quarter of 2018 was also lower by 7.77 percent than the 590,670 MT produced in the same period of 2017.

'The reduction in area planted to cassava for industrial use in Northern Mindanao was caused by the decreased demand from feed manufacturers,' the PSA report read.

'In Cagayan Valley, some areas shifted back to yellow corn production due to strict quality standard in buying cassava chips implemented by feed manufacturers,' it added.

The PSA farmers in other areas harvested smaller and fewer roots due to the effects of Typhoons Ompong and Rosita. 'Other [cassava production] areas were kept in fallow to regain soil fertility.'

Last year, figures from the PSA indicated that the Philippines produced 2.72 million metric tons of cassava. The figure is nearly 3 percent lower than the 2.806 MMT produced in 2017.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) embarked on a large-scale propagation of high-yielding and pest-tolerant cassava varieties as part of its efforts to develop additional production areas in 2008.

The DA noted that cassava is not only a staple foodstuff as it can also be used as an alternative for feed meal for the swine and poultry industries and feedstock for bioethanol production.

The country's top cassava-producing regions are the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Northern Mindanao, Bicol, Central Visayas and Eastern Visayas. In terms of provinces, the top producers are: Maguindanao, Basilan, Bukidnon and Sulu.

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Publication:Business Mirror (Makati City, Philippines)
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:May 13, 2019
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