Citing estimates of the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS), Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala said the crops subsector, accounting for more than one-half (54.1 per cent ) total agricultural production, increased by 3.6 per cent . It was bannered by palay and corn, which grew by 4.45 per cent and 11.43 per cent , respectively.
For the first quarter of the year, the country’s farmers harvested a total of 4.17 million metric tons (MMT) of palay (unmilled rice) and 2.25 MMT of corn, valued at P66 billion (B) and P27.8 B, respectively, at current prices.
The DA chief said the increased harvests of palay and corn were mainly due to early plantings, adequate supply of irrigation water, higher average yields as a result of increased usage of hybrid and certified rice seeds, hybrid and OPV corn seeds, and additional areas planted to both rice and corn.
“Our efforts are paying off, and we hope to attain our sufficiency targets by year-end,” said Secretary Alcala. “For these achievements, we thank our country’s farmers and fishers for their continuous hard work and perseverance, and strong cooperation of local government units and the private sector,” he added.
The DA targets to produce 20 MMT of palay and 8.4 MMT of corn by end of 2013, making the Philippines sufficient in both staples. Last year’s output totaled 18 MMT of palay and 7.4 MMT of corn.
Just recently, the country started exporting 35 MT of aromatic and organic black rice to Dubai. Another batch of 80 MT of premium and organic, colored rice varieties is being readied for shipment to other countries. The DA in partnership with the private sector also exported 24 metric tons (MT) of corn feed silage for cattle to South Korea. It is part of a total 15,000 MT of corn silage to be shipped to that country this year.
Several major crops also posted positive gains during the first three months of 2013, which included pineapple (increased by 5.8 per cent ), mango (4.5 per cent ), tobacco (4 per cent ), sugarcane (2.5 per cent ), and onions (8.5 per cent ), among others.
The fisheries subsector, which shared 16.3 per cent to total agricultural production, rebounded with a 5.6 per cent growth, as production of aquaculture species like milkfish (bangus) and tilapia has increased.
Larger catch of marine species like roundscad (galunggong) and tuna were also recorded, as result in part of the conservation measures imposed in Zamboanga and Visayan Seas, and lifting of the tuna ban in the Pacific Ocean.
Total value of fishery production amounted to P59.5 B at current prices.
The poultry subsector, accounting for 14.4 per cent to total agricultural production, posted a 2.8 per cent growth, with total value of production at P45.8B at current prices. The subsector was led by chicken, whose output grew by 3.3 per cent , worth P34.6B.
The livestock subsector, which contributed 15.3 per cent to total agricultural output, barely grew, at 0.3 per cent , with total production value of P54.3B at current prices. The hog industry grew by 0.36 per cent , valued at P44.87B at current prices.