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Agriculture Department Optimistic for 2010

by 5m Editor
23 December 2009, at 12:00am

PHILIPPINES - Despite devastating typhoons earlier this year, the Department of Agriculture is forecasting good growth in the agricultural and fisheries sectors next year.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) predicts a good year for the farm sector in 2010 and hopes that the country would be spared of the climatic beating it experienced this year, according to Manila Bulletin.

In its annual assessment, DA stressed that government's intervention programs were crucial in nursing agriculture and fisheries back to health in spite of the onslaught of killer typhoons in the second semester of the current year.

Agriculture Secretary, Arthur C. Yap, said the implementation of the 43.7-billion peso (PHP) FIELDS food security and sufficiency programme and plan for the development of two million hectares to generate two million jobs under the Medium Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP) were crucial in ensuring that the farm sector would not be held back.

FIELDS stands for the six areas where the government's intervention programs are being channelled into under the Arroyo administration—Fertilizers, Irrigation and other rural infrastructure like farm-to-market roads (FMRs), Extension services and education for farmers, Loans, Dryers and other post-harvest facilities, and Seeds and other genetic materials.

Under the MTPDP for 2004-2010, the DA was tasked with the twin goals of developing over the medium-term at least two million hectares of lands to create two million additional jobs; and reducing the cost of wage goods such as rice, vegetable, poultry, pork and fish.

Secretary Yap said: "As a result of the swift and stepped-up implementation of these programmes, the DA has helped Philippine agriculture and fisheries grow by 1.5 in the first nine months of 2009—with livestock, poultry and fisheries as its primary growth drivers—despite the increasingly crippling effects of climate change on farm productivity."

The livestock sub-sector almost recovered from its 2008 slump as it grew by 1.95 per cent this year, he said, mainly due to hog production, which posted a 2.22 per cent increase.

He said that the sub-sector accounted for 12.36 percent of total agricultural output, grossing—at current prices – some PHP138.4 billion, reflecting a 4.89 per cent increase from the previous year's level.

Mr Yap said the poultry sub-sector registered a 3.46 per cent output gain this year, corresponding to a 14.09 per cent share of total agricultural output. Gross receipts of the sub-sector amounted to PHP100.3 billion at current prices, up by 11.38 per cent this year.

The fisheries sub-sector, which accounted for 26.63 per cent of total agricultural production, grew by 3.28 per cent, he said. This sub-sector grossed PHP160.6 billion at current prices or 3.18 per cent more than the previous year's level.

Production in aquaculture expanded by 4.50 per cent while that of commercial fisheries went up by 3.75 per cent, said Mr Yap. Municipal fisheries managed to post a 0.21 per cent output increment in 2009, reports Manila Bulletin.

5m Editor