Agricultural output grows in first quarter

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Fishermen raise an empty fishing net in a bay at Anibong in Tacloban City. -- AFP

The country’s agricultural output for the first quarter of 2018 grew by 1.47%, boosted by gains in the crops, livestock and poultry subsectors, Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data showed.

In a report released on Tuesday, May 8, the Philippines’ agricultural gross value grew by 8.94% to P444 billion in year-on-year comparison with almost all subsectors posting growth to a certain degree, except for fisheries.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol in a text message to reporters said the decline in fisheries was “expected” due to the closed fishing season from December 2017 to March.

Despite this, Mr. Piñol said that he is “happy that the PLEA (Production Loan Easy Access and SAAD (Special areas for agricultural development) programs are now contributing to greater productivity.”

The crops subsector, which took up 53.76% of the total agricultural output, grew by 1.79% due to better prices and production in general. The total value went up by 8.24% to P252.2 billion, PSA noted.

Palay output went up by 4.61% while corn output likewise increased by 4.66%, due to the intervention of the Department of Agriculture (DA).

Aside from the PLEA and SAAD, the PSA credited the higher trading price, the “usage of high yielding varieties of seeds from the Rice Program Model Farm of the [DA], adequate irrigation, water supply and sufficient rainfall during the planting

PSA also noted an early harvest amid favorable weather as well as expansion in Central Luzon and CALABARZON harvest areas with the help of DA’s programs. — Anna Gabriela A. Mogato