Farm production contracted by nearly 1 percent in the last quarter of 2015, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported on Thursday, as a severe dry spell due to the El Niño weather phenomenon and typhoons damaged the crops and fisheries sub-sectors.
Agriculture output contracted by 0.96 percent in October-December 2015, Interim Deputy National Statistician Romeo Recide said. A year earlier saw fourth quarter growth of 4.16 percent.
The fourth quarter decline narrowed the agriculture sector’s 2015 growth to just 0.11 percent, Recide said, much lower than the 1.39 percent expansion in 2014.
Full-year gross value of production amounted to P1.416 trillion, also lower than the year-earlier level of P1.486 trillion.
The fourth quarter contraction was due to unrealized plantings as a result of inadequate irrigation water and late rains due to El Niño, Recide noted.
“Typhoon Lando also negatively affected crop production during the period,” the official said.
At current prices, gross value of production in the fourth quarter amounted to P448 billion, 6.64 percent lower than the P479.9 billion a year earlier.
The crops sub-sector, which accounted for 51.83 percent of total output during the quarter, recorded a 2.69 percent decline.
Palay and corn farms suffered the most from the long dry spell and Typhoon Lando, with output contracting by 3.78 percent and 6.04 percent, respectively.
“Palay production at 7.3 million metric tons was 3.78 percent lower than last year’s record. The adverse effects of Typhoon Lando pulled down the palay production in Mt. Province, Apayao, Kalinga, Nueva Ecija, Aurora, Bulacan, Tarlac and Pampanga provinces,” Recide said.
He also blamed the rice black bug, tungro and rodents, as well as insufficient water during the vegetative stage and heavy rains with strong winds during the maturing stage. These were especially true in the CALABARZON region, Recide said.
In the Caraga region, the decline in palay output was the result of extreme heat and the lack of water.
Full-year rice output was down 4.3 percent at 18.15 million MT, just below the government forecast of 18.3 million MT.
Corn production at 1.7 million metric tons was down 6.04 percent during the quarter. Totally damaged areas and lower yields were reported in Kalinga and Mt. Province due to typhoons Ineng and Lando.
In Cagayan, there was insufficient soil moisture during planting while a shift to cassava, tobacco and sugarcane was cited in Isabela. In Nueva Vizcaya, unrealized plantings during the quarter were reported.
Typhoon Lando adversely affected corn production in Aurora, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija and Pampanga. In Cavite, corn plantings were limited due to inadequate rainfall and crop-shifting to sugarcane. Reduced area harvested was cited in Iloilo, where some farmers shifted to palay.
Limited corn seeds and insufficient rainfall also caused a contraction in harvest area in Guimaras. Lower yields in Negros Oriental were attributed to the frequent occurrence of rainfall during the crop’s early reproductive stage and less fertilizer use.
Yield was also affected by hot weather and insufficient rainfall in Davao del Sur, Compostela Valley, Davao del Norte, Davao City and Davao Oriental.
Corn farms in the ARMM, meanwhile, were left fallow during the quarter.
Production gains in other crops were noted, particularly for coconut, banana, pineapple, coffee, tobacco, abaca, peanut, mongo, cassava and calamansi.
The crops sub-sector grossed P259.7 billion at current prices, down 11.05 percent from a year earlier. For the whole of 2015, the sub-sector declined by 1.95 percent.
Livestock production during the fourth quarter expanded by 3.72 percent, contributing 17.07 percent to total agriculture output.
All components of the sub-sector recorded increases. Hogs, the major contributor to the sub-sector’s output, recorded a 4.21-percent output growth.
At current prices, the sub-sector’s gross output value amounted to P72.1 billion, up 1.54 percent.
In January to December 2015, production in the sub-sector increased by 3.83 percent.
Poultry production, which shared 14.72 percent of total output, went up 4.17 percent.
“Except for duck, all components of the sub-sector posted output increases,” the PSA said, noting that chicken production expanded by 3.58 percent to boost the sub-sector’s growth.
The gross value of output totaled P53.4 billion at current prices, up 2.98 percent from the year earlier.
The sub-sector’s output expanded by 5.74 percent for the whole of 2015.
Fisheries contributed 16.38 percent to total agricultural output but dipped by 4.28 percent in the last quarter of 2015.
Tilapia and seaweed production went up by 4.47 percent and 2.45 percent, respectively, but production declines were noted in the rest of sub-sector.
Fisheries grossed P62.8 billion at current prices, down 3.45 percent year-on-year. The sub-sector recorded a 1.96-percent drop in production in 2015.
Farmgate prices were down by 5.74 percent on average in October to December 2015.
The crops, livestock and poultry sub-sectors recorded price declines, while prices in the fisheries sub-sector increased on average.
Year-on-year, farmgate prices went down by an average of 4.78 percent in 2015.