Statement on the First Quarter of 2021 Philippine Agriculture Sector Growth Performance

  • 11 May 2021, Tuesday

Dr. Glenn B. Gregorio
Director and CEO
Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA)

Point 1: OVERALL GROWTH PROJECTIONS FOR AGRICULTURE SECTOR IN Q1 2021. In our projection, the overall growth rate of the volume of production shows a positive growth for the Q1 of 2021. However, more sustained efforts in the remaining quarters of 2021 are needed to hit the preferred 2% growth, which is achievable as the agriculture sector becomes more adapted and innovative given the government’s systemic and systematic technological interventions are being put in place. While we have noted a contraction in the livestock sector due to the continuing onslaught of African Swine Fever (ASF), positive growth could also be noted in the fishery and crop sectors.

Point 2: FISHERY SECTOR SHOWS PROMISE BUT MORE INTEGRATED INFRASTRUCTURE SUPPORT IS NEEDED. Once again, we have noted the positive growth in the fishery sector that could be further maximized with improved logistics and transport system to increase the competitiveness of the sector. For years, the Philippines would benefit from investments on integrated infrastructure system that lowers production and transportation costs across the different supply chains related to the fisheries management areas (FMAs) in the country. Of urgent concern is the need to enjoin the private sector’s investment in cold storage facilities where the Philippines may apply various technological adaptations of designs made by more advanced countries. We believe that this need is very urgent given that the fishing communities remain among the most impoverished sectors in the country.

Point 3: AS NATURAL HAZARDS AND OTHER DISRUPTIONS ARE BECOMING COMMONPLACE, WE NEED TO TRANSFORM AGRICULTURE SECTOR AS RESILIENT SYSTEMS. Given the significant impact of typhoons and floods to the crop sector as experienced in 2020 or even in the years prior, we are joining the chorus on the need for more resilient agricultural farming systems. This clearly requires increased percentage of Filipino farmers having internalized a decision-support system that would make them more agile and effective in responding to natural hazards and other potential external disruptions like the COVID-19 pandemic. These include improved access to climatic and weather data, stress-tolerant crop varieties, good agricultural practices, crop insurance system, extension system and modern technological support, and innovative financial capital.

Point 4: LIVESTOCK AND POULTRY SECTORS NEED SYSTEMIC, LONG-TERM INTERVENTIONS TO MAKE IT SUSTAINABLE. As threats like the COVID-19 pandemic and a string of zoonotic diseases persist, we call for a more comprehensive evaluation using One Health/EcoHealth framework to operationalize how the livestock and poultry sector could achieve its triple bottom line: profit, people, and planet. Specifically, support is needed for improved access to better surveillance system, integrated biosecurity measures, and technology-based operation system (i.e., tunnel-vent technology), among others. To further induce this, we call on the consumers to be more aware and supportive to livestock and poultry products that observed higher quality standards.