Agriculture Department eyes 2.5 percent growth this year
MANILA (UPDATE) - Philippine agricultural output fell in the fourth quarter of 2020, with farm output down 3.8 percent from the 0.1 percent dip in the same quarter a year ago.
This was due to the lower output across agricultural products namely, crops, livestock, poultry, and fisheries, the Philippine Statistics Authority said on Wednesday.
In total, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said the country's farm and fisheries output in 2020 was down by 1.2 percent -- which the agency said was "remarkable" given the impact of the Taal Volcano eruption, the COVID-19 pandemic and the African swine fever outbreak on agriculture."
The DA said it is aiming for a 2.5-percent growth in farm output this year, as it moves to fund programs for much-needed sectors such as rice paddy harvesting, hog and poultry raising, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said.
Crops -- which accounted for 57.9 percent of the country's total agricultural production -- contracted 0.4 percent in the fourth quarter as rice paddy harvest declined 1.4 percent while corn production decreased 0.3 percent.
Livestock output was down 12.9 percent while poultry shrank 5.5 percent as hogs and chicken production was hit by the African swine flu.
Fisheries output also decreased 4.7 percent.
Despite posting lower volumes, the value of agricultural output at current prices was 5 percent higher at P503.8 billion.
The country's inflation rose 3.5 percent in December primarily driven by higher food prices.
The government will release the 2020 fourth quarter and full-year gross domestic product (GDP) figures on Thursday.
The country's trade and agriculture agencies earlier said they are running after retailers who are overpricing amid lower farm production.
They will also allow increased importation and will start bringing in 54,000 metric tons of pork in February to help lower prices and balance supply and demand.