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Farm sector growth slows to 1.5% in Q1 2018.

The agriculture sector posted slower production growth at 1.5 percent in the first quarter compared to 5.28 percent in the same period last year, latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) expected the slower growth for the period due to the continuous decline in fisheries and the high base reference following the El Nino phenomenon two years ago.

'The decline in fisheries was expected in the first quarter because of the closed fishing season in most fishing grounds all over the country from December to March,' Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pinol said.

'It is expected to recover in the second quarter. I'm happy that our programs are now contributing to greater productivity,' he added.

Agriculture economist Rolando Dy said growth for the second quarter may stay the same level as the first quarter.

At current prices, the agriculture sector grossed P444 billion, up nine percent year on year.

Crops, which accounted for bulk of total agricultural production, inched up 1.79 percent with both palay (unhusked rice) and corn increasing five percent.

Palay production rose to 4.62 million metric tons (MT), while corn production went up to 2.48 million MT.

According to PSA, the increment could be attributed to the expansion in harvest areas in most regions following availability and usage of quality hybrid seeds and adequate water supply during the planting months.

The increase was also attributed to the financial assistance from DA and the local government units.

Production gains were also noted among the major crops, particularly coconut, banana, pineapple, tobacco, abaca, peanut, mung beans, tomatoes, eggplant, and rubber.

The crop sub-sector grossed P252.2 billion, up eight percent year on year.

Livestock production, which comprised 17 percent of the aggregate output, improved 2.11 percent. Gross earnings rose 15 percent to P76 billion.

PSA attributed the increase to the sustained demand from consumers, bigger volume of disposals of stocks in some areas, additional commercial farms and better farm gate prices registered.

Poultry likewise increased 5.24 percent, representing 16 percent of the total agricultural output. The expansion of broiler farms, low mortality and higher demand from food establishments contributed to the growth of the sub-sector.

Gross earnings in the sub-sector went up nine percent to P57 billion.

On the other hand, the fisheries sub-sector, which made up 13 percent of total farm output, declined 4.61 in volume but value increased five percent to P59 billion.

The decrease was due to the delayed stocking in freshwater cages, slower growth of stocks owing to the low water temperature and lesser area harvested following limited supply of fingerlings.

Meanwhile, average farm-gate prices increased five percent with price gains recorded in all sub-sectors.

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Publication:Philippines Star (Manila, Philippines)
Date:May 9, 2018
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