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Aquaculture Production Gains

by the Fish Site Editor
17 August 2010, at 1:00am

PHILIPPINES - A drought has hit crop production in the first half of this year but there were small gains in livestock production. While fisheries contracted, aquaculture output rose 2.7 per cent.

Farm output contracted in the first half of this year as the prolonged dry spell cut crop-sector output, raising the prospect of additional imports of the country's main staple later this year, reports Manila Times.

In a press conference, DA Secretary Proceso Alcala said the country's agriculture output, which makes up one-fifth of the country's economy, fell 2.6 per cent in the period January to June 2010.

Of the four sub-sectors, crops – which contributed 44.8 per cent of total farm output – registered the biggest production slump of 6.7 per cent, as both palay (rice) and corn output dropped by 10.2 and 25.0 per cent, respectively.

Mr Alcala warned that an earlier production forecast of 17.4 million metric tons for palay this year may not be met, as the El Niñ-induced decline in the first-half output would be carried over into the final six months of 2010.

He said: "For sure, we will miss the projected palay production," he said, adding that the DA predicted a 0.2-per cent drop in rice production this year.

For the third quarter of 2010, Romeo Recide, Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) director, said the trend in palay production will remain negative, warning that output will fall further by at least 25.6 per cent.

But delayed planting of rice would boost the fourth quarter results to an expansion of at least 30.3 per cent, he said.

He added: "However, we should remember that the fourth quarter of 2009 was hounded by typhoons Pepeng and Ondoy, so we have a low base for this quarter."

Mr Alcala said the agency is looking into possible turn-around programmes to mitigate the looming shortage in the country's palay production.

"We are already preparing several programs to shorten the gap in the palay production this year," he said, adding that the government would come up with a decision in the next 10 days on whether to import additional stocks of rice.

"By that time, we will also give the new projection for the rice production this year," Mr Alcala said, adding that imports this year, however, would be lower than last year.

Besides palay and corn, sugar cane production fell 21.9 per cent, whereas coconut output inched up 0.4 per cent.

Fisheries, which contributed 28.2 per cent of total farm output, also dropped 0.1 per cent. The 5.0 per cent and 1.6 per cent contraction in commercial and municipal fisheries, respectively, more than offset the 2.7 per cent gain in aquaculture production.

The slump in the crops and fisheries sub-sectors, which are the two biggest components of the agriculture sector, overshadowed the marginal gains in the livestock and poultry sub-sectors.

Poultry, which comprised 14.7 per cent of total farm output, eked out a 2.6 per cent gain in the first six months of this year. Chicken meat and egg production increased by 2.3 and 5.7 per cent, respectively, according to Manila Times.

Livestock, which accounted for the remaining 12.3 per cent of the agriculture economy, posted a 2.1 per cent increment in production. Dairy output grew by 17.4 per cent, while water buffalo and pig production increased by 6.0 and 1.6 per cent, respectively.

On average, farm-gate prices increased by 4.5 per cent from last year. The livestock sub-sector posted the biggest price hike at 10.0 per cent, while poultry prices went up by 7.2 per cent.

Farm-gate prices of crops and fisheries increased by 4.2 and 0.9 per cent, respectively.

the Fish Site Editor