Farm sector posts 2.92% growth

By Czeriza Valencia, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jan 22 2013 08:12 AM | Updated as of Jan 22 2013 05:21 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The agriculture sector grew 2.92 percent in 2012, up from the farm output growth of 2.34 percent in 2011, grossing P1.4 trillion at current prices.

The full year farm output performance was pulled up by the 4.79 percent fourth quarter growth from a growth rate of 1.93 percent in the first nine months of the year.

The growth was driven by the crops, livestock and poultry sub-sectors which comprise 82 percent of farm output. The three sectors posted a combined growth of 3.6 percent.

The farm growth target for 2013 has been placed at 4.3 to 5.3 percent.

The 2012 growth rate was lower than the targeted three to five percent growth rate for the year because of the contraction in the fisheries sector which comprise 18 percent of the total farm sector production.

The fisheries sub-sector suffered a 0.04 percent contraction in 2012 as municipal fish production fell by 3.9 percent.

Aquaculture harvest, however, posted a 2.85-percent growth, while commercial fisheries rose by 0.23 percent. The sub-sector grossed P237.2 billion at current prices.

Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said the fisheries sub-sector is expected to reverse its negative growth within the first quarter of the year because of the reopening of the high seas and the implementation of closed season in strategic areas to increase the spawning areas of certain fish species.

The fishing ban imposed in the Zamboanga Peninsula and Visayas Seas to increase the population of sardines and herring would be lifted between the end of February and early March.

Despite the adverse effects of typhoons and floods this year, palay and corn posted record harvests of 18.03 million metric tons (MT) and 7.41 million MT respectively.

Palay production for 2012 exceeded the target of 17.98 million MT set by the Bureau of Agriculture Statistics (BAS). Corn production, on the other hand, only narrowly missed the BAS production target of 7.46 million MT for 2012 to reach 7.41 million MT.

Alcala said that for 2013, palay production is seen to reach 20 million MT while corn production target for the year is seen to reach not less than eight million MT.

The record palay harvest for 2012, which was 8.1 percent higher than the 2011 output of 16.68 million MT, was attributed to a 3.4-percent increase in total harvested area to 4.69 million hectares from 4.54 million MT in 2011. The introduction of high quality seeds and the implementation of the early planting and third cropping schemes also contributed to higher year-on-year production.

The 2012 palay harvest is the highest harvest recorded since 2000.

The average farmgate prices of palay rose to P16.20 per kilo, up 6.3 percent year-on-year.

Central Luzon remained as the country’s main producer of rice with a total production of 3.22 million MT, up 23 percent in 2011. The other major palay producers for the year were Cagayan Valley which produced 2.43 million MT; Western Visayas (2.29 million MT); Ilocos (1.74 million MT); Soccksargen (1.27 million MT); Bicol (1.17 million MT); and Mimaropa (1.03 million MT).

Agriculture Assistant Secretray Delima, who is also the National Rice Program coordinator, said around 300,000 hectares would be used for the third cropping scheme this year, up from around 80,000 hectares used in 2012.