Lower crop production hinders farm output growth

From January to March 2024

The farm output growth has weakened in the first quarter of this year, primarily due to the decline in crop production, especially in palay cultivation, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said.

Based on the PSA report released on Wednesday, May 8, the total value of agricultural and fisheries production only posted a slight increase of 0.05 percent from January to March to P428.99 billion.

This meager growth contrasts sharply with the 2.1 percent expansion recorded in the same period in 2023.

The primary cause of the slowdown was the decline in crop production, which represents 57.6 percent of the agriculture and fisheries sector, the PSA said.

In the first quarter, crop production dropped 0.3 percent to P247.04 billion due to the 2.0 percent reduction in the value of palay production.

Despite these challenges, Agriculture Secretary Francisco P. Tiu Laurel, Jr. remained positive about the growth performance given the impact of El Niño on agricultural yields. 

Laurel said that modernization strategies and the assistance provided to farmers and fishermen supported the farm sector’s growth.

Meanwhile, the Department of Agriculture (DA) noted the robust performance of the poultry subsector, which contributed to the overall growth in the agricultural and fisheries sector. 

The production value increased by 0.05 percent, reaching P428.99 billion in the first quarter of this year.

“The impact of reduced rainfall and hotter temperatures were evident in lower crops and fisheries production in the first quarter,” Tiu Laurel explained.

“If El Nino will persist through the second quarter, we're cautiously optimistic that the interventions we have taken will allow the agriculture sector to mend and return better results between April and June,” he added.

On the other hand, the overall crop yields during the first quarter dropped to 0.3 percent due to the 2 percent decline in rice, while banana and coconut shrunk by 4.5 and 3.3 percent, respectively.

Other agriculture outputs, such as corn had a slight increase of 0.5 percent in the past three months, while onion, coffee, and sugarcane swelled up to double-digits.