Aquaculture for all

Animal Production on the Rise in the Philippines

Economics +1 more

PHILIPPINES - At 1.5 per cent, agricultural output rose marginally in the first half of 2009 but livestock production was significantly higher than the same period a year ago.

AFP reports that Philippine farm output grew slightly in the six months to June as state efforts to boost crop production kicked in and the disease-ravaged livestock sector recovered, according to a government statement. However the 1.53 per cent year-on-year expansion remained way below its 4.7 per cent pace in the first half of 2008.

Farm output accounts for less than 20 per cent of the Philippines economy but 35 per cent of its labour force still depends on agriculture and Manila is the world's largest rice importer.

Fisheries output was up 4.9 per cent, poultry grew 4.13 per cent and livestock rose 2.42 per cent as the central and southern regions built up their stock for meat and poultry, according to AFP.

The department said that the livestock sector had suffered a 3.3 per cent drop in the first half of 2008 – the period used for comparison – due to a decline in hog output caused by various diseases that affected the industry from December 2007.

Livestock and poultry together account for about one quarter of the country's farm output.

Output of unhusked rice – the country's main crop – rose 3.59 per cent to 7.38 million tonnes partly as a result of state intervention programmes that expanded lands planted to grow the crop, better irrigation, extensive use of hybrid seeds, and increased fertiliser use, the department said in a statement. Manila is targeting production of 17.81 million tonnes of unhusked rice this year.

However corn, the country's second most important crop, suffered a 2.27 per cent output drop to 3.22 million tonnes.

Corn is the main feed crop for the livestock sector, and the department said farmers are being encouraged to plant more by boosting the state budget to provide "drying and marketing services to thousands of corn farmers."

Other key crops such as bananas, coconuts, peanuts and cassava also posted increases in output, the statement said.

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