5.48% agri sector growth posted in first half of 2011

QUEZON CITY—After bannering a record harvests of palay (unmilled rice) and corn, the Department of Agriculture (DA) reported that the crops subsector boosted the growth of the agriculture sector by 5.48% in the first six months of 2011.

Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala said with palay and corn registering all-time outputs of 7.58 million metric tons (MT) and 3.31 million MT, respectively, the crops subsector–which contributed more than one-half (51.8%) to total agricultural output–grew by 11.1%.

Likewise, the livestock and poultry subsectors, which grew by 0.85% and 3.6%, respectively, also contributed to the improved performance of the entire agriculture sector.

The fisheries subsector, however, dipped by 2.9%, as commercial and municipal fish catch decreased during the first half of the year.

In all, the gross value of agricultural output amounted to P706.4 billion at current prices, about 16% more than last year’s level.

Among major crops, sugarcane made a full recovery from the effects of a dry spell last year, and grew by 75.6%. Other good performers were tobacco (11.5%), rubber (6.2%), pineapple (3.2%), banana (1%), abaca (1.2%).

The crops subsector grossed P411.8 billion at current prices, 31.1% higher than last year.

Similarly, the livestock subsector, accounting for 15.3% of total agricultural production, registered a 0.85% increment in output this year. Hog output went up by 1%. Gross was valued at P103.1 billion at current prices, 1.6% lower than last year.

The poultry subsector grew by 3.6%, grossing P77.8 billion. Production of chicken grew by 3.8%, while chicken eggs increased by 3.5%. The subsector contributed 13.4% to total agricultural production.

The fisheries subsector, which shared 19.6% to total agricultural production, dipped by 2.9% during the first semester, as commercial and municipal fish catch decreased by 15.6% and 2.7%, respectively.

Aquaculture production, however, grew by 5.2% with the value of aquaculture and marine fish products totaled P113.6 billion at current prices, 1.1% more than last year.

In all, farmers, fishers, poultry and livestock raisers were better off, as average farmgate prices of their respective products were roughly 10% more than the same six-month period last year.

While prices of various crops increased by an average of 18%, while those of fishery products went up by 4.1%. Prices of livestock and poultry products were slightly higher at 2.5% and 3.3%, respectively.

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