Farm output sustains growth in Q3 led by palay, fish

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 9) — Farms managed to produce more crops and meat in July-September to sustain the trend from the previous quarter, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported Monday.

The agriculture sector eked out a 0.7% growth in the third quarter, the fastest since the same period in 2019 when production surged by 2.3%. Farm output was valued at ₱404.57 billion versus ₱388.48 billion last year.

Despite the positive output, the nine-month tally still stood flat from last year, even recording a 0.2% decline in terms of production value against a 0.4% increase during the first nine months of 2019.

Crops, which account for half the total production, rose by 4.8%. Palay led the increase, with farms churning out 15.2% more rice paddy. Corn harvests also climbed by 3.5%.

Sugarcane produce shot up by nearly a fourth, followed by cacao (12%), potato (7.5%), eggplant (3.4%), and mongo (3%). Sweet potato and mango also registered gains, but other key crops saw smaller harvests.

Yields of tobacco farmers dropped by 30.1%, followed by a 16.9% dip in calamansi. Declines were also recorded for pineapple, cabbage, rubber, tomato, banana, and onion, among other produce. In total, picked crops totaled ₱211.1 billion.

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Fisherfolk managed to stay afloat with a 15.8% rise in their haul, led by a nearly 40% spike in bigeye tuna. Other major drivers that led to a 1.9% increase in fisheries output were Bali sardinella, blue crab, cavalla, and yellow fin and frigate tuna.

On the flipside, fish called fimbriated sardines registered a 21.7% fall, followed by an 11.3% slide in tiger prawn harvests. Mudcrab, milkfish, slipmouth, indian mackerel, and seaweed production also slipped during the period, according to PSA data. Total production is valued at ₱63.4 billion.

Pulling down production is the meat segment, which accounts for 17.5% of the sector. Livestock supply went down by 7.6%, largely due to lower production from hogs, cattle, and carabao.

Dairy production squeezed a 16% jump. However, this was not enough to nurse the segment back to growth, with production dropping by 5.5% and the value slipping to ₱71.4 billion.

Poultry output also recorded a 3.8% decrease, with chicken production down 7.2% during the period. Egg harvests were up 6% for chicken and 3.1% for duck. Output is valued at ₱58.7 billion, 4.4% lower than a year ago.

Agriculture took a beating in October and November, with twin typhoons Quinta and Rolly inflicting damage to billions of pesos worth of crops. Prior to this, local farmers have been reeling from record-low palay prices with the influx of cheap rice imports.

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The Department of Agriculture previously set a 2 percent growth goal for the industry this 2020, moving in step with average population growth.