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Bacolod City, Philippines Wednesday, February 6, 2019
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‘Agri growth highest in 10 years’


Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said yesterday the agriculture growth under President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration is the highest in 10 years.

In his statement posted in his official Facebook page yesterday, he said the growth of agriculture in the first year of Duterte’s administration was at 5.36 percent.

He also said that if it is added to the “disappointing” 0.56 percent growth last year, the average growth for the first two years of the Duterte administration is at 2.7 percent.

He said the previous administration posted a cumulative agriculture performance of -1.1 percent in the last two years with 2015 at +0.19 percent and -1.4 percent in 2016.

Piñol said that in 2017, the agriculture sector posted a +3.96 percent growth and +0.56 percent in 2018, which totals to 5.36 percent, he added.

He said he based his data from the Philippine Statistics Authority.

He said that the slow growth in 2018 was attributed to the devastation suffered by farmers in Northern Luzon from eight major tropical depressions and typhoons, including the Super Typhoon Ompong, that destroyed P37.2- billion worth of crops.

Piñol added that the negative performance of agriculture in the last year of the Aquino administration was attributed to the El Niño phenomenon, which he claimed led the hungry farmers to a bloody demonstration in Kidapawan City where two of them were killed.

The Duterte administration posted the highest harvest of rice in the history of the country, so far, with 19.28-million metric tons in 2017, higher by over 1 million metric tons than the last production of the Aquino administration, he also said.

“Even when the rice sector suffered over 1-million metric tons in losses in 2018 because of the almost monthly tropical disturbances, the harvest was still a very high 19.066-million metric tons,” Piñol said.

He also assured the agriculture sector will rebound this year “with God’s grace and protection”, as indicators show there is a projected bountiful harvest in the first semester for rice, favorable climate for corn, and the Philippines becoming the number 2 banana exporter in the world, among others.

DA is also projecting a historic harvest of 20-million metric tons and this is based on the increase in the number of farmers using inbred and hybrid seeds, from 48 percent to 60 percent last year, Piñol said.

He also said that the fisheries sector leveled off last year and it is expected to grow with the establishment of ice-making, cold storage, and post-harvest facilities this year in the fishing communities.

The closed fishing season program is showing positive results with the big fishes like tuna and others swimming close to shore to feed on the pelagic species which have multiplied because of the conservation program, he added.*


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