The agriculture sector grew 0.67 percent in the first quarter from a year ago, as the strong poultry production offset a decline in rice and corn harvests, the Philippine Statistics Authority said Wednesday.
Data showed the first-quarter agriculture growth was slower than 1.7 percent registered in the fourth quarter of 2018 and 1.1 percent a year ago. The sector accounted for just 6.8 percent of the gross domestic product in 2018.
“Production increases were noted for livestock, poultry and fisheries during the period. On the other hand, crops recorded a decrease in output,” the PSA said in a statement.
It said at current prices, the gross value of agricultural production dropped 3.12 percent to P429.7 billion because of lower farm gate prices this year.
Crops which accounted for 52.71 percent of the total agricultural output contracted 1.01 percent in January to March. Palay and corn production dropped 4.46 percent and 2.07 percent, respectively.
The PSA linked the lower rice production to the adverse effects of the dry spell reported in Cagayan Valley, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao and Soccsksargen. Bicol Region also incurred damage to palay production because of flooding brought by typhoon “Usman” in the latter part of December 2018.
Production decreases were also noted among the major crops such as banana, pineapple, coffee, mango, tobacco, peanut, cassava, garlic and rubber. At current prices, the gross value of crops production fell 6.4 percent to P235.4 billion.
Livestock production grew 1.25 percent in January to March and contributed 17.11 percent to the total agricultural production. Higher outputs were recorded for cattle, hog and dairy. The gross value of livestock production reached P75.4 billion at current prices or 0.25 percent lower from last year’s level.
Poultry output rebounded 5.41 percent in the first quarter and contributed 16.74 percent to the total agricultural production. All poultry commodities exhibited production gains. At current prices, the gross value of poultry production amounted to P55.4 billion, down 3.66 percent from a year earlier.
Fisheries production inched up by 0.97 percent in the quarter and contributed 13.45 percent to the total agricultural production. The gross value of fisheries production hit P63.5 billion, up by 7.81 percent from the previous year’s record.
Farmgate prices received by farmers decreased by 3.76 percent in the first quarter. Lower prices were observed for crops at 5.46 percent, livestock at 1.49 percent and poultry at 8.60 percent. Meanwhile, prices for fisheries went up by an average of 6.78 percent.