By Madelaine B. Miraflor
The country’s agriculture sector has produced more during the third quarter of the year, but its combined farm output was valued lower as the influx of imported rice in the local market and rising cases of African Swine Fever (ASF) in the hog industry took a toll on the prices of rice and pigs, respectively.
Department of Agriculture
Latest data from Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed that the country’s agricultural production grew by 2.87 percent in the third quarter of 2019 on the back of higher output recorded in crops, livestock, poultry and fisheries.
This exceeded the expectation of the Department of Agriculture (DA) of a 2.0 percent to 2.5 percent growth performance for the sector from July to September.
However, at current prices, the total value of agricultural production amounted only to ₱395.3 billion, which is 3.64 percent lower than the previous year’s record.
Crop production, which accounted for 45.19 percent of the total agricultural output, particularly went up by 2.01 percent during the quarter. Among the major crops, production of corn was up by 23.47 percent, while palay production fell by 4.53 percent.
During the period, the value of the total crop production fell by 7 percent to ₱199.6 billion. This, as the value of palay production declined by 29.82 percent due to lower volume of production and reduction in price.
To recall, palay prices have been on a downtrend since the Rice Tariffication Law or RA 11203 was implemented in March, resulting to a large volume of cheaper imported rice flooding the market and at the same time dampening the demand for locally produced rice.
Meanwhile, the combined decreases in production and prices caused the contractions in the values of production of other crops like sugarcane (-74.56 percent), onion (-41.28 percent), eggplant (-14.59 percent) and coffee (-3.94 percent).
Price cuts also brought down the value of production of cabbage by 60.86 percent, coconut by 20.18 percent and tomato by 22.42 percent.
The biggest gainer during the period was tobacco which posted a 110.61 percent growth.
This was the result of the improvement in the volume of production coupled with better prices.
From July to September, the total value of the country’s livestock production also fell by nearly 7 percent to 70.1 billion amid the rising cases of the deadly swine disease ASF, which has already resulted to the death and culling of about 70,000 hogs in Luzon since August.
To be specific, hog posted an 8.70 percent lower output value this period as a result of reduced price level. In total, livestock production was 1.63 percent higher this quarter.
Fisheries production was also valued lower at 64.1 billion during the period, while production, which shared 16.70 percent in the total agricultural output, grew by 0.56 percent.
Poultry production, on the other hand, registered an 8.41 percent increment this quarter. It shared 19.44 percent in the total agricultural output.
As ASF dampens demand for pork and more consumers buying chicken for their protein requirements, the total value of poultry production amounted to ₱61.5 billion or 9.60 percent more this quarter compared to last year’s record.
Chicken came up with a 5.79 percent growth in the output value because of higher volume of production.