Saturday, November 15, 2008

Manila News

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Philippine agriculture expanded by 4.19% in the first three quarters of 2008, with the crops subsector, consisting primarily of palay and corn, emerging as the top growth driver for this period, Secretary Arthur Yap said yesterday.

In terms of value, the agriculture sector grew 22.23% higher than its 2007 performance for the same period, grossing P836.3 billion at current prices, Yap said in citing the official report of Director Romeo Recide of the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS).

Yap said the crops subsector, which accounted for 47.73% of the total agricultural output for the January-September period, grew 6.1%, with palay production rising by 7.22% and corn production by 4.86%. The subsector grossed P458.5 billion at current prices or 30.38% higher than the 2007 record for the same period.

With a 13.82% share in agriculture production for the first nine months of 2008, the poultry subsector posted a 4.8% hike in output, mainly due to the increase in chicken yields. In terms of value, poultry registered a 12.03% increase compared to last year’s level, with its output priced at P90.1 billion, Yap said.

The fisheries subsector, on the other hand, recorded a 3.55 % increase in production, accounting for 26.14 % of the total agricultural output. Aquaculture gained 5.31%, while commercial and municipal fisheries posted production increments of 1.54% and 1.91%, respectively.

Only the livestock subsector posted a decrease in production at 1.97% due to the decline in hog output by 2.7% for the January-September period. The subsector, which contributed 12.31 % in the total output of Philippine agriculture for the first nine months of 2008, grossed P132.1 billion at current prices, up by 12.76% this year.

The growth of Philippine agriculture for the first nine months of 2008 was slightly lower than its performance of 4.32% in the same period in 2007, as a result of various woes plaguing world agriculture such as climate change and sky-high petroleum prices that have jacked up the cost of everything from petroleum fertilizers to transporting goods from farms to markets.

Yap said there could be a further weakening of farm growth in the last quarter of 2008 as a result of adverse developments due to the consolidated effect of typhoons this year and the significant decline in farmers’ use of petrochemical fertilizers following the 100% jump in domestic prices. Field reports reaching the Department of Agriculture pointed to a 30% drop in sales of inorganic fertilizers nationwide during the wet or main crop, leading to an expected decline in per-hectare yields of farmers who were forced to scrimp on the use of this essential production input owing to exorbitant prices.

Even so, palay production reached 10.59 million metric tons in the January-September months, which is 7.22% higher than the 2007 output for the same period, owing to aggressive planting in the third quarter brought about by better palay prices especially in the areas of the Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, MIMAROPA (Mindoro-Marinduque-Romblon-Palawan), Western Visayas and Caraga.

“Moreover, the early onset of the rainfall allowed more plantings specifically in the rainfed areas of Western Visayas and Caraga, while the early release of irrigation water resulted in increased production in the palay farms of Cagayan and MIMAROPA,” Yap said.

Yap also pointed out the use by farmers in Nueva Ecija of early maturing varieties, which led to early harvests in the third quarter.

“Despite possible weakening of fourth quarter figures which will affect year end agriculture growth statistics, I still believe that the sector will post positive growth rates that will range from just below 4% to about 4.5%. These reflect resilient numbers considering that the agriculture sector suffered global shocks this year due to the volatility of input and oil prices, and the global destabilizing effects of recession in the United States .”

Corn output reached 3.55 million MT for the first nine months of the year, pointing to a slowdown in production gains for the third quarter due to the adverse effects of typhoons “Frank,” “Karen” and “Nina,” the high costs of fertilizers and the shift by corn farmers to other crops.

Yap noted, however, that the availability of seeds from the Ginintuang Masaganang Ani Corn Program, and the sustained use of hybrid and high quality open-pollinated variety seeds in Cagayan Valley , SOCCSKSARGEN ( South Cotabato-Cotabato-Sultan Kudarat-Saranggani-General Santos City ) and Northern Mindanao in the second quarter more than offset these third-quarter production losses.

He said the DA will continue with its aggressive planting programs for rice and corn and set up additional postharvest facilities, water supply and irrigation systems next year to sustain the high growth path of the crops subsector.

The DA chief said the Department will focus on investing in hard infrastructure to sustain and possibly increase significantly, the growth of the fisheries subsector, particularly its aquaculture component, next year.

Yap also bared plans by the DA to focus on the growth of the domestic root crops industry in 2009, as part of its food security initiatives to ensure food security. The Secretary has already instructed Directors Rafael Espino of the GMA-High Value Commercial Crops (HVCC) and Director Joel Rudinas of the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) to undertake a rapid assessment of the DA’s ongoing root crops programs.

On coconut, Yap said that on top of replanting efforts, the DA and the Philippine Coconut Authority will also concentrate on salt fertilization to help achieve a 10% to 15% hike in production in 2009.

To help the livestock subsector rebound next year, Yap said the DA will pursue its program on the importation of live heads.

In the first semester, Philippine agriculture grew by a high 4.7% on the strength of sustained, higher investments by President Arroyo in the sector, with palay and corn along with other crops leading the expansion during the six-month period that saw the world entering a new era of tightening supplies and unparalleled price swings in rice and other food staples.

Last semester’s growth was higher than the 3.74% expansion in the same period in 2007.

Earlier, Yap said that the continued softening of petroleum prices will set off a matching drop in the retail cost of oil-based fertilizers. He has directed the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA) to keep tabs on domestic prices with an eye on running after “price-gouging” dealers and retailers.

Yap noted the projected fertilizer price drop this November is “welcome news” for agriculture stakeholders, especially palay farmers who will need this vital production input beginning this month up to January next year for the 2009 dry or summer crop.

The price of urea, for instance, is expected to go down to P1,400 or lower per 50-kilogram bag this November, he said, from its prevailing price of over P1,900 during the August-October period.

Fertilizer prices doubled this year as a result of the nonstop jump in oil rates in the world market and big demand by other countries during the first three quarters of 2008, touching off the DA-monitored 30% decline in fertilizer usage by farmers during the wet crop.### (DA-PRESS OFFICE)

Sa implementasyon ng Carbon sink Initiative sa pagitan ng Team energy Corporation
Pagbilao municipal gov’t at Padre Burgos nagkasundo
Ni Gladys Alfonso

PAGBILAO QUEZON- Muling pumasok sa Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) ang local na pamahalaan ng Pagbilao Quezon at Padre Burgos Quezon sa kasunduan na maging makatuwang uli ang pamahalaan sa implementasyon ng Carbon Sink Initiative (CIS) Project sa pagitan ng Team Energy Corporation.

Taong 2003 ng mapagkasunduan ng Mirant Philipines Corporation at Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) sa dating DENR Sec. Elisea Gozun sa pamamagitan ng Quezon Ecosystem Research and Development Center at local na pamahalaan ng Pagbilao at Padre Burgos Quezon, na ngayo’y nakatakdang mag-pirmahan uli sa kasunduan ang mga nabanggit.

Matapos ang limang taon proyekto na umabot sa 150 ektaryang upland reforestation at 150 ektaryang mangrove reforestation sa mga bayan ng Pagbilao at Padre Burgos kung saan 14 dito ay mula din sa iba’t ibang organisasyon na nakiisa at sumoporta sa programa na kinabibilangan ng mga farmers, fisher folks na tinatawag na Katipunan ng Samahang Mamamayan para sa Kalikasan sa Quezon Inc. (KASAMAKA QUEZON).

Ngayon ang lahat ng bumubuo ng CIS Project ay muling magkakasama sa programa upang proteksyunan at mapangalagaan ang kalikasan sa lalawigan ng Quezon.

Ang paglagda sa bagong MOU ay isinagawa sa Eco-Destination sa Brgy. Ibabang Palsabangon Pagbilao Quezon na dadaluhan ng mga taga munisipyo, DENR-R-4A KASAMAK Quezon at Team Energy Corporation sa bagong commitment ng mga ito sa nasabing proyekto.

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