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REELING FROM TAAL ERUPTION, BIRD FLU, SWINE FEVER, COVID

DA: Farm sector will barely grow this year

By: - Reporter / @kocampoINQ
/ 05:04 AM November 10, 2021

The Department of Agriculture (DA) on Tuesday said it has given up on its target of growing the farm sector by 2 percent this year, blaming the adverse effect of natural calamities on food production for impeding the sector’s potential.

Agriculture Undersecretary Fermin Adriano said in a media briefing that the agriculture industry would likely end the year with a growth of less than 1 percent—a far cry from the initial target of the DA to expand production by 2.5 percent, which was later lowered to 2 percent.

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“The growth rate of the livestock sector is zero. We could have registered a growth rate of more than 2 percent if not for that and if we have active cooperation from LGUs (local government units),” Adriano said.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the sector must grow by at least 2.5 percent annually to keep up with the country’s growing population and demand for food, but for the past three years, this has not been achieved.

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Agriculture Secretary William Dar blamed the sector’s dismal performance on the “perfect storm” that ravaged the industry over the years—the eruption of Taal Volcano, reported cases of bird flu and African swine fever, the COVID-19 pandemic and the series of typhoons that entered the country.

Adriano said the last quarter of the year could be the industry’s saving grace after three quarters of

negative performance for two reasons—the replanting by farmers who were affected by the recent typhoons and the traditional uptick in demand during the holiday season.The potential gains in the last quarter, however, could easily be wiped out by a natural disaster, he warned.

According to the DA, Typhoons “Jolina,” “Kiko” and “Fabian” destroyed P2.85 billion worth of agricultural commodities, while Severe Tropical Storm “Maring” cost P2.26 billion in agriculture damage.

The agency earlier laid out plans to adjust the planting calendar and transfer production to areas that were less vulnerable to climate change, but these did not materialize.

The livestock industry, which continued to drag the performance of the farm sector since the first case of African swine fever was reported in 2019, might not recover until next year, according to Agriculture Undersecretary William Medrano. INQ

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TAGS: COVID-19 pandemic, Department of Agriculture, farm sector
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