THE Department of Agriculture (DA) said farm output will likely post positive growth in the fourth quarter, citing preliminary estimates.
“Based on initial data that we are seeing, it is possible that (agri-sector growth in Q4) would go up, because we did not have major calamities. There have not been too many typhoons,” Agriculture Spokesman Arnel V. de Mesa said in an appearance on PTV, the government broadcast network.
A positive growth outcome would reverse the 0.3% contraction reported by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) in the third quarter.
“Crop production is good, we are (also) expecting growth in the livestock and poultry subsector,” Mr. De Mesa said.
“Hopefully fisheries will recover, because in the third quarter this was the sector that saw the biggest decline” alongside the crops segment, he added.
Crop production, which accounts for 54% of farm production, dropped 0.4% in the third quarter.
Fisheries, meanwhile, declined 6.1% in the three months to September.
“We are hoping… (that by) early next year the agri sector will really recover,” he said.
The PSA is due to release agricultural output data for the fourth quarter in January.
The DA set a target of 2.3%-2.5% for agricultural output growth for 2023.
Additionally, Mr. De Mesa said that the DA is currently monitoring commodity prices during the year-end holidays.
He added that well-milled rice prices have fallen to the P51 per kilogram (kg) level from P52 previously, while regular-milled rice prices remained steady.
“Most of the prevailing (prices) are ranging from P51 to P52 per kg,” he said.
“As for supply, the harvest is almost 100% over. We are also expecting the rice imported from India amounting to 295,000 metric tons (MT),” he added.
The Indian government allocated a quota of 295,000 MT of non-basmati white rice for the Philippines, after having declared a freeze on such exports to safeguard its own domestic supply.
Separately, Bantay Bigas Spokesperson Cathy L. Estavillo said rice prices have not declined during the harvest.
“Prices have jumped to P52 per kg… It is not only in Metro Manila that prices are higher but in rice-producing provinces and municipalities (as well),” Ms. Estavillo said in an appearance on One News.
Mr. De Mesa said that the agricultural damage and losses brought about by shear line conditions in Southern Luzon and the Visayas, as well as the earthquake in Mindanao, have had little effect on agricultural prices.
“Those who were affected had just started planting and we have given them seed. So, there is no effect on the recent harvest,” he said. — Adrian H. Halili