The country’s agriculture sector grew by 1.44 percent in first half of 2013 on the back of stronger production in the fisheries, poultry and livestock subsectors, the Department of Agriculture reported on Wednesday.
In a press conference, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said that the total gross value of various agricultural products reached P697.2 billion in January to June 2013, an increase of 1.44 percent higher based on constant prices, or 0.88 percent based on current prices.
He attributed the first-half growth to the fisheries subsector, which increased 4.44 percent during the period. The subsector, which contributed 18.1 percent to the total agriculture output, has started to rebound as a result of sustainable production and conservation initiatives during the last three years—including the strict implementation of three-month closed fishing season in Zamboanga and Visayan seas.
To recall, the fisheries subsector contracted by 3.17 percent during the first half of 2012. On the other hand, the crop subsector suffered a 0.54-percent drop to P357.1 billion in the first six months of 2013 due to the massive reduction in corn output in the second quarter. At current prices, crops output, which contributed 51.79 percent of the total agriculture production, was lower by 4.30 percent from last year’s level.
For the first half, palay (paddy or unmilled rice) production reached 8 million metric tons (MT), or 1.34 percent higher from last year’s 7.89 million MT. At current prices, the value of palay reached P129 billion.
“We are confident that we could attain 100-percent sufficiency in rice by end of the year,” Alcala said, adding that the agriculture department will continue to beef up delivery of irrigation, quality seeds, postharvest and marketing assistance to farmers.
Corn production, on the other hand, reached 3.323 million MT in January to June 2013, or 4.19 percent lower from the 3.468 million MT in 2012. “There are significant reduction in harvest area in Cagayan Valley, ARMM [Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao], Ilocos Region and Western Visayas during the period. Also, there was recorded reduction in yield caused by moisture stress during the reproductive stage of the crop,” he said.
In the second quarter of 2013 alone, the value of palay production reached P33.98 billion, or a contraction of 1.85 percent from the P34.62 billion of 2012; while corn also contacted by 25.92 percent to P7.32 billion from P9.88 billion last year.
Meanwhile, the poultry and livestock sectors posted positive gains with 4.39 percent and 2.12 percent, respectively. The combined gains of both sectors contributed to about 30 percent to total farm production, grossing P86.4 billion and P111.8 billion, respectively.