Farm sector pressures are increasing with production contracts

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported that farm output contracted by 1.0 percent in the fourth quarter of last year, weighing on economic growth and underlining the mounting pressures on the sector.

The decline from the 0.5 percent growth in the previous year was attributed to lower harvests and fisheries. Full-year production thereafter fell 0.1 percent, although this was an improvement over 2021’s decline of 1.7 percent.

Economic growth in the fourth quarter and 2022 is expected to be limited by the outcome. Analysts expect the government to report a slowdown today, but overall GDP growth is expected to reach, if not exceed, official targets.

PSA said crops, which accounted for 59.1 percent of the total value of production, shrank by 1.0 percent, with rice and maize declining 2.5 percent and 6.9 percent, respectively.

Amid rising prices, the value of onion production was said to have increased by 23.3 percent. Sugarcane production also rose, as did tobacco, pineapples, potatoes, sweet potatoes, abaca, cocoa, coffee, coconuts, tomatoes, and cassava.

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However, production values ​​decreased for rubber, mango, ambalaya, calamansi, mongo, cabbage, banana, eggplant and other crops.

Livestock, which accounts for 14.3 percent of production, recorded a growth of 2.5 percent, with pigs and dairy products increasing by 3.4 percent and 1.0 percent. On the other hand, the production of goats, cattle and carabou decreased by 2.5 percent, 0.4 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively.

Poultry production grew by 1.8 percent and accounted for 12.8 percent of the total value of farm production. Expansions have been recorded for duck, duck, chicken and chicken eggs.

Vendors sell eggs at the Trabajo Market in Manila. Photography: DJ Diocena

Vendors sell eggs at the Trabajo Market in Manila. Photography: DJ Diocena

Fisheries, which had a share of 13.8 percent of total production, contracted 6.6 percent despite gains in jigging jack, big-eyed squid, yellowfin tuna, stuffed sardines and squid.

This sector declined due to the significant decline in the numbers of large tuna, lobster, crab, slip-mouth, kavala, Indian mackerel, grouper, Balinese sardinella, tilapia and tiger prawns.

Milkfish, blue crab, round and frigate tuna, among other fisheries, also recorded a decrease in production while seaweed production increased.

The decline in the production value of agriculture and fisheries came as the country continued to face supply shortages that led to higher prices of basic commodities such as onions, eggs and sugar.

Chief Ferdinand “BongBong” Marcos Jr., who has emphasized the need to bolster the food supply and make the farm sector more competitive, is currently heading the effort to achieve these goals as concurrent head of the Agriculture Division.

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