Saturday, May 18, 2024

Government Aid Eases El Niño Effects On Agri-Fishery Output


Government Aid Eases El Niño Effects On Agri-Fishery Output


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The Department of Agriculture (DA) on Wednesday said government interventions helped alleviate the impacts of the El Niño phenomenon on the agriculture and fisheries sector, as shown by the sector’s production for the first quarter of 2024.

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), agri-fishery production grew by 0.05 percent in the first three months of the year, valued at PHP428.99 billion, which is slightly higher than the PHP428.79 billion for the same period in 2023.

“Interventions and assistance provided by the government allowed the agriculture sector to fare better this time compared to periods in the past when we had El Niño,” Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. said in a statement.

Meanwhile, DA Assistant Secretary Arnel de Mesa said the effects of El Niño in the agriculture sector “may have been worse” without the early mitigation and food security measures implemented under the directives of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.

“Maliit na growth pero positive pa rin iyon despite all challenges na mayroon kami, napakalaking challenge ng El Niño (It’s a minimal growth but it is still a positive despite all the challenges that we are facing, the El Niño is a huge challenge),” he said in an interview.

He said other challenges facing the sector include transboundary diseases, ASF (African swine fever), and avian influenza, among others.

The first quarter production of poultry products grew by 5.9 percent, valued at PHP68.76 billion, with increased production of chicken, eggs, and ducks.

A slight decline, however, was reported in crop production which contracted by 0.3 percent, valued at PHP247.04 billion.


Rice production

Although rice production contracted by 2 percent equivalent to 100,000 metric tons (MT), De Mesa expressed optimism for better overall production and recovery in the remaining quarters of the year.

“Maganda pa iyong ine-expect pa rin natin na (We are still expecting a good) production level this year, 20.4 million metric tons,” he said, citing a slight increase from last year’s 20.06 MT production.

De Mesa said that besides the weakening effects of El Niño, DA programs and activities, including more irrigation projects, will soon be rolled out.

”Pagdating ng second quarter, diyan na uli iyong malaking employment sa agri kasi land preparation for rice, for corn. And then production din natin sa livestock, marami (When it comes to the second quarter, the huge agri employment will be there because of land preparation for rice, for corn. And then for livestock production, it will increase in the) second to the third quarter,” he said.

This may also entail higher productivity considering the increased area planted for hybrid, and inbred rice, alongside the distribution of more farm machinery.

In terms of growth outlook, the DA expects to hit around 1 to 2 percent growth performance for 2024. (PNA)