Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Banner year for high-value commercial crops

By Ira Karen Apanay
Manila Times

HIGH value commercial crops and vegetable production was among the biggest gainers in Philippine agriculture in 2007, contributing nearly half of the total farm and fisheries output for that year.

The Department of Agriculture said this was the result of their intervention measures to counter the effects of a dry spell last year.

Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap said that besides palay and corn, the biggest gainers in the crops subsector were mango, which recovered from the previous year’s slump to register a hefty 11.25 percent growth in 2007. Other gainers were banana, which grew 10.12 percent; pineapple, 9.95 percent; peanuts, 7.03 percent; mongo, 11.98 percent; cassava, 6.5 percent; cabbage, 35.57 percent; and rubber, 14.94 percent.

Yap said that in terms of value, gross earnings from the crops subsector amounted to P510.3 billion at current prices, up by 11.03 percent year on year.

Farm output grew 4.7 percent in 2007, hitting the government’s original forecast of a 4-percent to 5-percent full-year expansion, with key subsectors posting ample or higher-than-expected yields. Last year’s expansion was higher than the 2006 growth of 3.84 percent.

Yap noted that the banana subsector sustained its gains in 2007 as a result of the recovery of trees in the MIMAROPA (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan ) area from the adverse effects of super typhoons that hit the country in 2006.

He added that enough rainfall also led to bigger harvests in Eastern Visayas and Northern Mindanao.

Pineapple harvests likewise increased because of additional production in idle lands in Cavite and good farming practices in Bicol. Massive pineapple area expansion was also reported in Cotabato, Sarangani, Misamis Oriental and Bukidnon, Yap said.

Mango production rose in Ilocos Norte, the provinces of Western Visayas along with Cebu, Zamboanga del Norte and the SOCKSARGEN (South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, and General Santos City) area.

Yap noted that production rose as a result of the continued expansion by San Miguel Corp., La Tondeña and Phil Agro’s contract growing programs in Bukidnon, Misamis Occidental and Misamis Oriental.

More peanuts were harvested in Ilocos Sur, La Union, Antique, Iloilo , Negros Oriental, and Lanao del Norte because of increasing demand from processors, while areas planted to cassava expanded as a result of the use of high yielding varieties and contract growing programs by San Miguel, La Tondeña and Phil-Agro in Bukidnon, Misamis Occidental and Misamis Oriental.

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