MANILA, Philippines - Most industrial crops registered lower production volume in the first quarter of the year due to plant diseases, and devastation caused by typhoon Pablo in the tail end of 2012, according to the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS).
In its January to March 2013 Non-Food and Industrial Crops Quarterly bulletin, BAS noted increased production in coconut, tobacco and sugarcane while decreases were seen for abaca, coffee, rubber during the period.
Abaca production in the first quarter of the year fell 8.13 percent to 15, 652 metric tons (MT) against 17,037 MT in the same period last year.
BAS noted that several municipalities in Leyte and Southern Leyte are still affected by bunchy top disease causing production in Eastern Visayas to fall 11.42 percent.
Also affected by the bunchy top disease were farms in Zamboanga Sibugay, particularly those under the Goodyear Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Multipurpose Cooperative (GARBEMCO), where production fell 31.50 percent during the period.
BAS said, however, that there were efforts to eradicate the disease.
Abaca farmers in Aklan were also discouraged by weak trading, causing production in the province to drop 49.31 percent.
Production in Davao Region and Caraga fell 30.57 percent and 10.12 percent respectively due to the onslaught of typhoon Pablo, the most destructive typhoon to the agricultural sector in 2012.
Favorable weather conditions, on the other hand, resulted to higher abaca production in Catanduanes by 4.16 percent and in Bicol Region by 41.59 percent.
Coconut production in the first three months of the year rose 0.27 percent to 3.626 million MT from 3.616 million MT in the same period in 2012.
BAS attributed increased production volume to increased planting area and number of bearing trees in Sultan Kudarat.
Effective control of coconut leaf beetle and fertilization program in Zamboanga Sibugay and increase of bearing trees in Zamboanga del Norte also raised production by 3.55 percent in the Zamboanga Peninsula.