GROWTH in the Philippine agriculture sector slowed in the first three months of 2014 because of the devastating effects of typhoons that hit the country last year, but forecasts for the second quarter indicate higher output in palay and corn, the country’s staple crops.
In a report, the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) said farm output grew by just 0.67 in the first quarter compared to the 3.11 percent growth recorded in the same period last year.
Gross earnings in the sector amounted to P386.6 billion at current prices, or a 10.75 percent increase from last year’s gross receipts.
“Output increases noted in the crops, livestock and poultry subsectors were negated by the contraction in the fisheries subsector,” the BAS said.
The crops subsector, which contributed 54.4 percent to the total agricultural output, grew by 1.53 percent in the first quarter on the back of stronger palay and corn production. At current prices, the subsector grossed P225.8 billion, or 17.58 percent higher than last year’s record.
Palay production in the first quarter reached 4.31 million metric tons (MT), up by 3.28 percent from the 2013 output of 4.17 million MT. Harvest area expanded from 1.11 million hectares to 1.16 million hectares.
Increases in production and harvest area were noted in Western Visayas, ARMM, Central Luzon, Northern Mindanao and MIMAROPA. In Central Luzon and ARMM, harvest area expanded due to the movement of harvesting from the second quarter to the first quarter brought about by the hot weather conditions, the BAS said.
Palay production for January-June 2014 may reach 8.31 million MT, 3.89 percent higher than the 8 million MT output in 2013. Harvest area may expand by 2.8 percent from 2.04 million to 2.1 million hectares, while yield per hectare may increase by 1.06 percent, from 3.91 MT to 3.95 MT.
The April-June 2014 forecasts, based on standing crops, indicate production of 4 million MT or 4.56 percent more than the 3.83 million MT output in 2013.
The July-September 2014 production forecast, which is based on farmers’ planting intentions, is expected to increase by 4.51 percent to 3.51 million MT from 3.36 million MT in 2013.
On the other hand, corn production in January-March 2014 was placed at 2.28 million MT, or 1.33 percent higher than the 2.25 million MT record in 2013 as a result of expanded areas.
Corn production in January-June 2014 is expected to reach 3.49 million MT, or 4.88 percent higher than the 3.32 million MT output in 2013.
However, for the third quarter of 2014, corn production may decrease by 1.45 percent to 2.56 million MT from 2.60 million MT in 2013, the BAS said.
Production in the livestock subsector, which contributed 15.44 percent to total agricultural output, went up by 1.2 percent in the first quarter of the year.
“The major source of growth was the hog industry, which expanded by 1.25 percent.
All other livestock components recorded increases in production. The subsector grossed P57.4 billion at current prices, or 5.58 percent more than last year’s level,” the BAS said.
The poultry subsector—with its 14.46 percent contribution to total agriculture output—grew by 1.33 percent in the first quarter. Production gains in chicken at 2.50 percent, and duck at 0.10 percent, helped in sustaining the subsector’s growth.
At current prices, the subsector’s gross value of production amounted to P45.7 billion, indicating a 5.29 percent improvement from last year’s record.
However, the fisheries subsector, which accounted for 15.7 percent of total agricultural production, contracted by 3.25 percent in the first quarter. The subsector grossed P57.8 billion, down by 2.64 percent from last year’s record.