THE Department of Agriculture said that despite slight contraction in the value of farm production in the third quarter, there are still strong indications the sector could contribute positively to the economy.
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported Wednesday that value of farm output in the third quarter declined 0.3 percent year-on-year, hurt by lower output of crops and fish. The value of production in agriculture and fisheries slipped to P412.41 billion in the July-September quarter.
“As we look at the data more closely, we could see positive signs in the rice, corn and onion harvest as well as in our production of tilapia and galunggong—all important food items for the Filipino masses,” said Agriculture Sec. Francisco Tiu Laurel in a statement.
“With the growth numbers in the first three quarters, we remain optimistic agriculture could still contribute positively to the broader economy,” he added.
Value of rice, corn and onion increased by 0.2 percent, 5.0 percent and 165.1 percent, respectively, in the third quarter.
The value of fisheries production decreased 6.1 percent to P58.72 billion on sharp drop in the output of tiger prawns and bigeye tuna. Fisheries accounted for one-sixth of agriculture output.
Contractions in the value of crop and fisheries production was partly offset by the 2.5 percent increase in the value of livestock production at P66.11 billion and 2.9 percent increase in the value of poultry production at P64.89 billion.
Despite challenges posed by the African Swine Flu and avian influenza, swine and poultry production continued to improve. Livestock production rose 2.5 percent to P66.11 billion, with hog production rising 3.3 percent. Poultry output rose 2.9 percent to P64.89 billion.
At current prices, the value of production in agriculture and fisheries amounted to P522.58 billion, higher by 4.3 percent.
“Patuloy po nating tututukan ang mga produktong pang agrikultural na nag-aambag sa paglago ng value of production kabilang ang palay, mais, sibuyas, livestock at poultry, at iba pa,” he said.
“Samantala, sisiguraduhin nating maiaangat ang productivity ng iba pang agricultural commodities sa pamamagitan ng angkop at nararapat na interventions,” Sec. Laurel added.