THINK ON THESE : Henrylito D. Tacio

The agriculture sector last year was not in good shape due to some problems but the future looks good this year, according to the Department of Agriculture.

“Agriculture will bounce back,” Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol told EDGE Davao.  “The fundamentals are in place.”

He admitted that 2018 was not good as the country was hit by 12 typhoons, including one super typhoon.  Ompong (international name: Mangkhut) made landfall on Northern Luzon and it greatly affected the vegetable production of farmers in Baguio and other crops in the region.

“We are expecting that 2019 will be a better year, following the bust and boom cycle of agriculture,” Piñol said.

The last quarter report of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) give a clearer picture of the status of agriculture sector in the country.  From January to December last year, agricultural production increased by a dismal 0.56%.

But there was a 1.8% growth reported in the fourth quarter.  “Crops, livestock, poultry and fisheries contributed to the higher production during the quarter,” PSA noted.  “At current prices, the gross value of agricultural production amounted to P521.2 billion, higher by 4.05% than the previous year’s level.”

Crops production slightly increased by 0.25%.   Crops accounted for 50.40% of the total agricultural output.  Increases in production were registered by coconut, banana, pineapple, coffee, mango, tobacco, abaca, rubber and vegetables (mung bean, tomato, onion and cabbage).

Palay production, however, declined by 2.20% but corn production grew by 10.82%, according to PSA.

Livestock registered a 1.64% increase in production and contributed 17.74% to the total agricultural production in 2018.  During the fourth quarter, carabao, swine and dairy came up with output gains. 

“At current prices, the value of livestock production reached P91.9 billion, up by 7.42% from the previous year’s level,” PSA said, adding that livestock production went up by 1.89% last year.

During the last quarter, poultry production expanded by 6.99%.  However, from January to December, the production increased by 5.75%.

Poultry production accounted for 1.18% to the total agricultural production, the PSA said.

“The value of poultry production amounted to P60.7 billion at current prices,” PSA said, noting that it was 1.74% higher than the previous year’s record.

Likewise, fisheries production – which shared 15.68% in the total agricultural output, went up by 1.93%.  Except for roundscad and yellowfin tuna, all the major fish species recorded increases in output.  “At current prices, the value of fisheries production reached P73.3 billion,” PSA said.

But on annual basis, fisheries output declined by 1.13% in 2018.

Overall, on the average, prices received by Filipino farmers increased by 2.22%.  “Prices increments were noted for crops at 1.94%, livestock at 5.69%, and fisheries at 7.80% while poultry recorded an average drop of 4.91%.”