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Farm output likely grew 5% in Q2 -- Agri chief

Posted on July 17, 2017

FARM OUTPUT growth for the second quarter likely matched the first quarter’s pace to remain supportive of the economy during the period, the country’s agriculture chief said over the weekend.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said he expects agriculture growth in the April to June period to register at around 5%, close to the 5.28% pace logged in the first three months of 2017.

It’s a solid farm output forecast for the second quarter Mr. Piñol tipped this time, with the Agriculture chief only saying last month that the sector likely continued its turnaround in the quarter ending June. Agriculture production slumped 2.34% in the second quarter of last year.

The optimistic farm outlook comes as Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia had said last week that the overall economy likely expanded by at least 6.4% in the second quarter, also matching first quarter’s reading. That 6.4% projection, however, is softer than the 7% the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) head offered in May. The official gross domestic product (GDP) numbers will be reported on Aug. 17.

Hindi naman maaapektuhan ng sa NEDA [National Economic Development Authority] economic indicators ang sa agriculture eh (The NEDA’s economic indicators may not necessarily affect agriculture’s projections),” Mr. Piñol said in a phone interview over the weekend.

The agriculture official cited higher world prices of crops and livestock as boosting the sector’s growth for the period.

Rolando T. Dy, executive director at the University of Asia and the Pacific Center for Food and Agri-Business, in a text message over the weekend, said he forecasts stronger growth for the second quarter at 6% to 7% as palay, corn and sugarcane production rebounds from a low last year due to El Niño. This is an upward revision from the economist’s “conservative” June estimates of 5% to 6%.

For the third quarter, Mr. Piñol said he expects farm output to grow by 6%. The agency is expecting a 6% to 7% farm growth for this year. -- Janina C. Lim