MANILA - Philippine agricultural output contracted 3.3 percent in the first quarter as the sector continued to feel the effects of the African swine fever outbreak, the state statistics bureau said Monday.
While grain production grew, livestock and poultry production declined, the Philippine Statistics Authority said.
Livestock, which has a share of 14.2 percent in the total agricultural production, contracted by 23.2 percent. Hog, which is the major contributor for livestock shrank 25.8 percent, the PSA said.
The country's swine industry has been suffering from the impact of African swine fever. Thousands of hogs, especially in Luzon, were culled due to the disease. Pork meat supply and swine headcount dwindled pushing food prices upwards and fueling inflation.
Poultry, with 13.3 percent contribution to the total agricultural production, declined 7.4 percent. Chicken production fell 11.2 percent, the PSA said.
Meanwhile, crop production grew 3.3 percent which contributed 58.8 percent to the total agricultural production for the period, data showed.
Palay and corn production rose 8.6 percent and 6.5 percent, respectively, the PSA said.
Fisheries also grew 0.6 percent during the period, which contributed 13.7 percent to the total agricultural production, the PSA added.
The value of agricultural production, at current prices, reached P484.8 billion, up 8.2 percent in the same comparable period, the PSA said.
Official gross domestic product figures for the first quarter are expected to be released on Tuesday, May 11. Agriculture usually accounts for less than 10 percent of overall economic output
One of the country's economic managers earlier hinted that the first-quarter GDP growth rate was likely to remain negative, with positive growth happening only by the second quarter.