Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 13, 2008


Farm output grew by 4.19 percent in the first nine months of the year with all sectors except livestock DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE - PHILIPPINES - GOVERNMENT AGENCY - FARMING posting gains, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said yesterday.

Growth for the January to September period was down from 4.32 percent for the same period last year, the department said in a statement.

The statement attributed the rise in output partly to early planting, use of special high-yielding and early-maturing rice and corn seeds in some regions and earlier incidence of rainfall in some areas.

Crop output rose by 6.1 percent and accounted for 47.73 percent of total agricultural output in the first nine months of the year, the DA statement said.

The fisheries sector, which accounted for 26.14 percent of total agricultural output, rose by 3.55 percent in the first nine months.

Production of unhusked rice, the country’s main crop, rose by 7.22 percent to 10.59 million tonnes, the department added.

Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap said in terms of value, the agriculture sector grew 22.23 percent to P836.3 billion at current prices.

Yap said the crops subsector, which accounted for 47.73 percent of the total agricultural output for the January to September period, grew 6.1 percent, with palay production rising by 7.22 percent and corn production by 4.86 percent. The subsector grossed P458.5 billion at current prices or 30.38 percent higher than the 2007 record for the same period.

With a 13.82-percent share in total production for the first nine months of 2008, the poultry subsector showed a 4.8-percent hike in output, mainly due to the increase in chicken yields. Poultry earnings rose 12.03-percent increase to P90.1 billion, Yap said.

The fisheries subsector, on the other hand, recorded a 3.55-percent increase in production, accounting for 26.14 percent of the total agricultural output. Aquaculture gained 5.31 percent, while commercial and municipal fisheries posted production increments of 1.54 percent and 1.91 percent, respectively.

Only the livestock subsector decreased production by 1.97 percent due to the 2.7-percent decline in hog output in the first three quarters. The subsector, which contributed 12.31 percent of the total output, still kicked up its profits 12.76% to P132.1 billion at current prices.

The growth of Philippine agriculture for the first nine months of 2008 was slightly slower than the 4.32 percent uptick in the same period in 2007, owing to climate change and sky-high petroleum prices that have jacked up the cost of everything from petroleum fertilizers to transport costs.

Yap said there could be a further weakening of farm growth in the last quarter of 2008 due to typhoon damage and the significant cut in the use of petrochemical fertilizers following the 100-percent jump in domestic prices. Field reports reaching the Department of Agriculture pointed to a 30-percent drop in sales of inorganic fertilizers nationwide during the wet or main crop, leading to an expected decline in per-hectare yields of farmers who were forced to scrimp on the use of this essential production input owing to exorbitant prices.

Even so, palay production reached 10.59 million metric tons (MT) in the January-September months, which is 7.22percent higher than the 2007 output for the same period, owing to aggressive planting in the third quarter brought about by better palay prices especially in the areas of the Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Mimaropa (Mindoro-Marinduque-Romblon-Palawan), Western Visayas and Caraga.

“Moreover, the early onset of the rainfall allowed more plantings specifically in the rainfed areas of Western Visayas and Caraga, while the early release of irrigation water resulted in increased production in the palay farms of Cagayan and MIMAROPA,” Yap said.



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