Gov't cuts 2011 farm growth forecast to 3-3.5%

Reuters

Posted at Nov 16 2011 04:16 PM | Updated as of Nov 17 2011 12:16 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Farm output in 2011 is now seen rising between 3% and 3.5% from last year, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said on Wednesday, revising down his growth forecast from 4% to 5%, due to typhoon damage to crops.

The agriculture sector, which accounts for a fifth of the southeast Asian country's overall domestic output, posted annual growth of 4.28% in January to September, reversing a contraction of nearly 3% a year earlier.

It grew 5.48% in the first half, before strong typhoons passed through major rice- and corn-growing regions.

Farm output last year contracted 0.12% as a severe drought due to the El Nino weather phenomenon hurt rice and corn production.

The country's unmilled rice output this year is forecast to reach 16.68 million tons, below the record 17.3 million ton target, due to crop damages.

Rice production in October to December was seen declining by 8.8% from a year earlier to 5.93 million tons, the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) said in a report released on Tuesday.

Corn production for the whole year is expected to rise 9.6% to almost 7 million tons, with a probable second-half output decline offsetting gains in the first six months, the BAS said.