Agriculture production shrank 2.34 percent in the second quarter of the year after contracting 0.01 percent year-on-year on lower crop and fisheries output.
The Philippine Statistics Authority said Monday the second-quarter output brought the average growth in the agriculture sector in the first half to a negative 3.48 percent from a growth of 0.73 percent on year.
Total value of production based on current prices amounted to P379.09 billion in the second quarter of 2016, up 1.3 percent from P374.19 billion in the second quarter of 2015.
The output of the crops subsector dropped 4.97 percent from a negative 2.99 percent last year due to the effects of the prolonged dry spell that affected most harvests.
Palay, or unmilled rice, production fell 6.1 percent to 3.71 million metric tons from 3.95 million metric tons last year.
The PSA attributed the lower production to significant decreases in harvest areas and yields caused by El Niño, notably in the Soccsksargen region comprising of South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos City, the Visayas, and the Caraga area composed of Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Agusan del Norte and Agusan del Sur.
Corn production also fell 10 percent to 911,000 metric tons from 1.01 mmt in 2015.
“Reduction in area harvested and lower yields because of the dry spell in Western Visayas, Northern Mindanao, Soccsksargen and ARMM were the main reasons for the drop,” the PSA said.
It said coconut and coffee production also declined during the period.
Output of the livestock sector grew 6.56 percent in the second quarter from a 5.2-percent expansion last year on higher hog production.
The PSA said the poultry sector contracted 1.25 percent from 5-percent growth last year due to the decreased production of chicken and duck meat.
The fisheries sector posted a 5.9-percent reduction in output from negative 0.3 percent in 2015 due to the decreased production of tilapia, skipjack and seaweed.
Despite the the poor agricultural output, Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia earlier said the economy likely grew 7 percent in the second quarter, faster than the 6.9-percent expansion in the first quarter, driven by infrastructure and election-related spending,
“Probably [around] 7 percent. The second quarter was still driven by election spending and infrastructure. A lot of money was released already, by the time we [the new administration] came in. They said 87 percent of the budget was already released,” Pernia told reporters.
Pernia said he expected growth to be sustained in the second half. He said growth might not be too far from 7 percent. The PSA will release the official second-quarter growth figure on Aug. 18.
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