By Tyrone Jasper C. Piad, August 9, 2022; Philippine Daily Inquirer

Lower output from the crops and fisheries sector – likely due to expensive inputs such as fertilizer – dragged agriculture production anew in the second quarter.

The Philippine Statistics Authority reported on Monday that agriculture production slipped by 0.6 percent in the April-June period, wider than the decline of 0.3 percent the previous quarter but narrower than the 1.5 percent a year ago.

Agriculture production in terms of value slid to P433.12 million in the second quarter from P419.97 million the previous quarter and P435.63 million a year ago.

In the first half, farm output dipped year-on-year by 0.4 percent to P853.09 million from P856.67 million.

The weaker agriculture production could be attributed to expensive fertilizer and fuel prices, according to Federation of Free Farmers national manager Raul Montemayor.

“Agri output … in constant 2018 prices has been on a continuous decline since 2020. Crops and fisheries in particular have been faring poorly,” Montemayor told the Inquirer.

Accounting for the majority of agriculture production, crops booked a 2.8-percent decrease in the second quarter.

Among the farm products that saw lower output for the period were sugarcane, coffee, tomato, mango, potato, cabbage, pineapple, abaca, tobacco and rubber. Meanwhile, the value of production of palay and corn was up by 0.7 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively.

Fisheries, which has a 15.8- percent share of the pie, fell by 2.3 percent in the same period. Double-digit declines were registered for tiger prawn (sugpo), blue crab (alimasag), cavalla (talakitok) and milkfish (bangus).

In April, the agricultural damage from the onslaught of the Tropical Depression “Agaton” reached P3 billion, according to the Department of Agriculture.

“The only bright side has been livestock and poultry but they are still in recovery mode and below 2020 levels,” Montemayor said.

In the second quarter, livestock output climbed by 2.1 percent, supported by production of dairy, hog and cattle.

Poultry production rose by 7.8 percent in April to June.

Duck eggs and chicken eggs grew by 11.5 percent and 10.5 percent, respectively, for the period. Value of chicken production rose 6.9 percent while duck production slid 7.5 percent.