Farm output swings to growth in Q3

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    The country’s agriculture production performance improved by 2.87 percent in the third quarter of the year following notable growth in all subsectors, the Philippine Statistics Authority said.

    In the comparable period in 2018, it declined by 0.87 percent.

    For the first nine months of 2019, agriculture recorded 0.77 percent growth.

    However, the gross value of agricultural production dropped 3.64 to P395.3 billion, against last year’s P409 billion for the same period.

    Production in the crops subsector went up 2.01 percent during the quarter and contributed 45.19 percent to the total agricultural production. At current prices, the subsector grossed P199.6 billion, 7.07 percent less than the previous year’s P214.8 billion.

    Palay production dropped 4.53 percent to 3.05 million metric tons (MT) for the quarter from 3.19 million MT a year ago, while corn grew 23.47 percent to 2.72 million MT from 2.2 million MT. Other crops such as coconut, tobacco, peanut, tomato and calamansi cushioned the drop in palay production.

    For the nine-month period, crop production decreased by 1.64 percent.

    On the other hand, amid the problem of containing the African swine fever, the livestock subsector, which contributed 18.67 percent to total agricultural production, rose 1.63 percent in the third quarter of 2019.

    At current prices, gross value of livestock production amounted to P70.1 billion, 6 percent lower than last year’s value due to reduced price level.

    Surprisingly, hog production went up by 1.96 percent to 551.62 thousand MT from the previous 541.03 thousand MT, while carabao, cattle and goat production all experienced a slump.

    In the first nine months of 2019, the subsector’s gross output increased by 2.04 percent.

    Meanwhile, the poultry subsector’s output grew 8.41 percent for the quarter, accounting for 19.44 percent of total agricultural output. Its gross value of output rose 9.60 percent to P61.5 billion from P56.1 billion at current prices.

    Chicken and chicken eggs contributed to the subsector’s positive performance with respective growths of 8.48 percent and 8.84 percent. Chicken production improved to 465.15 thousand MT from 428.77 thousand MT, while chicken eggs were at 145.54 thousand MT from 133.72 thousand MT. Duck was the only component that suffered a decline in production.

    From January to September, the subsector posted 5.91 percent growth in output.

    The fisheries subsector improved slightly by 0.56 percent during the period, contributing 16.70 percent to the total agricultural output. At current prices, the subsector grossed P64.1 billion, down 0.41 percent from the year earlier.

    Production of milkfish, skipjack and seaweed lifted the performance of the subsector. Milkfish output grew the most at 112.27 thousand MT from 99.26 thousand MT, a 13.1 percent improvement.

    In the first three quarters of 2019, the subsector’s production inched up by 1.40 percent.

    On the average, farmgate prices fell 6.33 percent in the third quarter of 2019. Except for poultry, farmgate prices for all the subsectors were lower for the period.

    Likewise, farmgate prices decreased by an average of 4.72 percent for the nine-month period.

    William Dar, agriculture secretary, said in a separate statement they will continue efforts to further improve the country’s agricultural performance to hit the 2-2.5 percent growth target.

    “This is a much better performance. We will continue to enhance the proper and sustained implementation of programs and projects of the Department of Agriculture (DA) to further elevate the growth of the agriculture sector,” Dar said.

    “We were expecting between 2 percent and 2.5 percent. This shows that the farmers and the fishers are showing a resilient performance with the programs and projects of the DA,” he added.