The country’s agricultural production from January to September contracted 2.5 percent, the largest decline in 11 years, as problems with livestock and poultry production hamper overall agricultural performance, reversing gains in the economy. crop sector.
During the nine-month period, the value of agricultural production, at constant 2018 prices, fell to 1.263 billion pesos from the 1.295 billion pesos recorded in the same period last year, said the ‘Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
Historical PSA data has shown this to be the sharpest contraction recorded by the sector in a January-September period since the 3.2% drop recorded in 2010.
PSA data also showed that the production of all sub-sectors (livestock, poultry and fisheries) except crops declined from January to September, with the livestock sub-sector showing a contraction. by 19.4%. Poultry production declined 1.3 percent while fisheries production edged down 0.5 percent year-on-year, based on PSA data.
The crops sub-sector, on the other hand, saw a 2.1% increase in the value of its production, at constant 2018 prices, according to the PSA.
In the third quarter alone, the value of agricultural production plunged 2.6 percent year-on-year, the lowest growth rate in a period from July to September in the past seven years or since the record contraction of 2.9% in the third quarter. 2014. This is now the fourth consecutive quarter that the performance of the agricultural sector has declined.
“This was due to the decline in agricultural, animal and fish production. Meanwhile, poultry has seen an increase in production, ”PSA said in its report released on Monday.
The PSA reported that crop production, which contributed 54.0% of total agricultural and fishery production, contracted by 0.2% while livestock, which accounted for 15.3% of total production. , decreased by 15.2%.
“Palay’s production increased 6.7% while corn production decreased -18.6%,” he said.
“Pork, the main contributor to animal production, fell by -17.8%,” he added.
The PSA reported that poultry production rose 13 percent while fishery production edged down 0.4 percent in the third quarter.
According to Danilo V. Fausto, president of the Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food (PCAFI), the contraction in agricultural production was mainly caused by the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, such as chains of disrupted supply and low purchasing power of Filipinos.
The situation, Fausto said, was made worse by the recent typhoons in the third quarter that hit the northern part of Luzon, where there are bountiful crops, including corn. These contracted by 18.6 percent over the period.
“The Ministry of Agriculture’s target of 2% full-year growth this year is wishful thinking. I think full-year agricultural production would decrease by 1-2%, ”he told BusinessMirror.
“We expect a better harvest in the fourth quarter coupled with an expected pick-up in consumer demand as quarantine restrictions ease,” he added.
Former Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Pinol said the contraction in agricultural production in the country is not an isolated case, pointing out that other countries, even the United States, have seen a decline in agricultural production. food production.
“The contraction in agricultural production is not limited to the Philippines. It’s a global phenomenon right now due to the Covid-19 pandemic, ”said Pinol, senator in next year’s elections, in a virtual forum hosted by Kamuning Bakery.
“The supply chain disruptions have really affected food production, so we need to improve our logistics to improve the flow of goods,” he added.
Pinol also noted that low consumer demand for food was also a factor in the decline in overall agricultural production, as farmers lack a secure market. “Even the Mindanao Lakatan banana growers who sell in Metro Manila complain about the low prices. There is no demand, there are not even students, ”he said.