Dr. Glenn B. Gregorio
Director and CEO
Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA)
It is important to take note that among the major economic sectors of the country, it is only the agriculture sector that has managed to achieve a positive growth since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The overall growth performance of the agriculture sector in the Q4 of 2020 has been greatly affected by back-to-back typhoons.
We projected that the growth rates of value of production in agriculture for the Q4 of 2020 (at constant 2018 prices) have posted a positive growth rate at 0.58%. It should be noted that while the crops production overall posted positive at 3.66%, there has been a decrease as compared to its Q3 2020 performance at 4.77%. As the impact of typhoons vary from location to location, so do the pathways to recovery. Hence, location-specific interventions are also crucial for immediate and long-term solutions toward resilience.
For Q4 of 2020, we have noted with keen interest the continuing good performance of the fisheries sector posting a positive growth rate at 1.69%. To fully maximize this over the long haul, infrastructure and enterprise development in this sector is necessary, especially in coastal areas in the Philippines facing stubborn poverty.
Comparable to the previous quarters, the livestock and poultry sectors for Q4 of 2020 were estimated to experience negative growth rates at -6.37% and -3.45%, respectively. Enabling policy environment and farm-level interventions related to biosecurity measures are necessary for the country to better respond to both present and emerging livestock diseases and zoonoses.
Overall, the performance of the Philippine agriculture sector in 2020 clearly highlights the need to accelerate the transformation of the sector into a dynamic and highly productive sector. SEARCA supports the Philippine Government’s aim of reinforcing and instituting long-term and programmatic innovative interventions to make the agricultural food system responsive to food security and poverty reduction targets.