Agri output up 0.5% in Q2; Q1 GDP contraction worse at 0.7%

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    Jed Macapagal and Angela Celis

    Agriculture output improved by 0.5 percent in the second quarter of the year, pushed by growth of the crops and fisheries subsectors, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said.

    Meanwhile, the PSA said the economy contracted by 0.7 percent in the first quarter of 2020, worse than what was initially estimated.

    The PSA yesterday released the updated figure, which is 0.5 percentage points lower than the preliminary estimated contraction of 0.2 percent.

    “PSA revises the gross domestic product estimates based on an approved revision policy which is consistent with international standard practices on national accounts revisions,” the agency said.

    The growth rates of net primary income from the rest of the world, and gross national income also recorded downward revisions from -4.4 percent to -5.9 percent, and from -0.6 percent to -1.2 percent, respectively.

    The government is set to announce today the economy’s performance for the second quarter, which is also expected to contract since lockdown measures were fully implemented during the period, putting most economic activities on hold.

    The Development Budget Coordination Committee has projected the economy will post a decline of two to 3.4 percent for the full-year.

    In a separate report, the PSA said first half agriculture production declined 0.6 percent.
    The gross value of agricultural production rose 4.6 percent to P439.8 billion at current prices.

    Production in the crops subsector went up 5 percent in the second quarter and contributed 53.7 percent to the total agricultural production. At current prices, the subsector grossed P237.8 billion, 13.6 percent more than last year’s gross receipts.

    Palay production increased 7.1 percent to 4.13 million metric tons (MT) for the quarter compared to the previous 3.85 million MT while corn experienced a 15.4 percent growth reaching 1.35 million MT from 1.17 million MT.

    High-value crops such as cacao, sweet potato, tobacco and tomato also contributed higher production.

    In the first six months of 2020, crop production increased by 1.1 percent.

    The fisheries subsector improved by 0.9 percent during the period and contributed 16 percent to the total agricultural output. At current prices, the subsector grossed P73.1 billion, a 2.6 percent decline compared to last year’s gross earnings for the period.

    Bali sardinella posted the highest production growth followed by skipjack, roundscad and cavalla. Minimal output increases were also noted for major species such as yellowfin tuna, tiger prawn, milkfish and seaweed.

    In the first half of 2020, the subsector’s production went down by 0.7 percent.

    The livestock subsector with its 17.3 percent contribution to total agricultural production registered an 8.5 percent contraction in the second quarter. At current prices, gross value of livestock production amounted to P73.8 billion, 4.5 percent lower than last year’s value.

    Hog, which is the sector’s main driver, recorded a 5.2 percent drop in output to 550,020 MT from 580,110 MT. Higher decreases in outputs were also reported for cattle, carabao and goat.

    In the first half of 2020, the subsector’s gross output decreased by 4.5 percent.

    The poultry subsector posted a 4.7 percent drop in output for the quarter, accounting for 13 percent of total agricultural output. Its gross value of output also went down 2.6 percent to P55.1 billion at current prices.

    Production declines of 7.8 percent each were registered for chicken and duck ending the quarter at 440,000 MT and 4,920 MT, respectively. Other components like duck eggs and chicken also suffered a downtrend in output.

    From January to June 2020, the subsector recorded a 2.3 percent decline in output.

    Secretary William Dar of the Department of Agriculture (DA) said the 1.5 percent growth target is an “uphill target” because of the pandemic.

    Secretary Carlos Dominguez of the Department of Finance (DOF) challenged the DA to fulfill a 2 percent annual growth target for the agriculture sector to keep it ahead of the country’s population expansion rate, which was estimated at 1.4 percent in 2019 by the PSA.

    Dominguez said the DOF will unlock more financing for the agriculture sector by pushing amendments to the Agri-Agra Reform Act .