The agriculture sector output dropped in gross value terms by 5.21 percent in the second quarter of the year to P372.40 billion as intense heat from El Nino cut production by the crops and fisheries subsectors, the Philippine Statistics Authority-Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (PSA-BAS) said.
In its Performance of the Philippine Agriculture Report, the PSA-BAS said the lackluster performance of the farm sector in the second quarter also affected the expansion in the previous quarter.
“For the period January to June 2015, agriculture posted cumulative growth of 0.73 percent,” PSA-BAS said.
The crops subsector, which shared 49.80 percent of the total agricultural output, recorded a 3.05-percent decline as the prolonged dry spell reduced the production of palay (unmilled rice) by 2.88 percent and corn by 15.76 percent.
The crop subsector’s gross value of output amounted to P200.4 billion at current prices or 9.64 percent less than last year’s level.
“Palay farmers suffered losses during the reference quarter as gross receipts went down by 19.34 percent as a result of decreases in both production and price. A similar trend was noted for corn for which gross earnings dropped by 19.34 percent,” PSA-BAS said.
Palay production was pegged at 4 million metric tons in April-June 2015, or 2.88-percent lower than last year’s harvest record. The significant reduction in palay production was from the contraction in harvest area and reduction in yield as a result of prolonged dry spell, insufficient rainfall and intense heat.
In SOCCSKSARGEN, there was a cut in the harvest area because of delayed cropping in South Cotabato. This was brought about by the closure of NIA (National Irrigation Administration) Aris DAM 2 for the rehabilitation of lateral canals in some areas damaged by the hot weather condition.
Early harvesting was also recorded in Mindoro provinces, specifically in areas affected by intense heat and insufficiency of water supply that resulted in lesser area harvested and lower yield during the period.
Corn output was pegged at 1 million MT, down by 15.76 percent in the second quarter of the year. The insufficiency of water supply because of the intense heat resulted in notable decreases in harvest area and yield in SOCCSKSARGEN, Davao Region, Cagayan Valley, Northern Mindanao and Bicol Region.
Price of palay dropped by 16.95 percent because of lesser trading activity. Corn recorded a 4.25-percent cut from last year’s price because of lower demand for corn.
Hot weather conditions, however, enhanced the production performance of pineapple, mango, abaca, mongo, camote, cassava, cabbage and garlic.
For the first half of the year, the gross output of the crops subsector eased by 0.54 percent.
Some growth in livestock
Meanwhile, production of the livestock subsector expanded by 5.20 percent in the second quarter of 2015. The subsector contributed 16.24 percent to total agricultural output. At current prices, the subsector’s gross receipts amounted to P62.2 billion, or a 1.59 percent increment from last year’s record.
In the first half of the year, livestock production increased by 4.25 percent. The poultry subsector with its 15.18 percent contribution to total agricultural production grew by 4.71 percent as all the subsector’s components registered output increments. The subsector’s gross earnings amounted to P45.8 billion at current prices or a decline of 0.89 percent from last year’s earnings.
In the first half of 2015, gross output by the subsector rose 5.03 percent.
“Chicken boosted the subsector’s performance in the second quarter of the year by posting 5.08 percent growth in production,” the agency said.
The fisheries subsector, which shared 18.79 percent in total agricultural production, registered a 1.53 percent decline in output in the second quarter of 2015 as the intense heat affected milkfish, tilapia, roundscad and skipjack production. The subsector’s gross earnings reached P64.0 billion at current prices, or 0.56 percent higher than last year’s record. In the first half of 2015, gross output of the subsector declined by 2.12 percent.
On average, prices received by farmers fell 4.86 percent compared with last year’s quotations. Prices of crops, livestock and poultry were quoted lower than their year-ago levels. Average farmgate prices in the fisheries subsector increased 2.12 percent. In the first half of 2015, average farmgate prices dropped by 4.14 percent.