Fresh produce is sold at the Marikina Public Market on October 7th. – PHILIPPINE STAR/ WALTER BOLLOZOS
According to the Department of Agriculture (DA), the country’s agricultural production is expected to increase by up to 2.5% in 2023.
Undersecretary for Agriculture Mercidita A. Sombilla said the agricultural sector may grow faster in 2023 compared to this year.
“Hopefully we’ll be at 1.2% growth, so far this year we’re expecting around 1.2% to 1.5%. For 2023, our target is 2.3% to 2.5%,” she told reporters on the sidelines of the prosecutors’ annual briefing on Monday.
Preliminary data from the Philippine Bureau of Statistics showed that the value of production in agriculture and fisheries in constant 2018 prices rose 1.8% in the third quarter as growth in the crop, livestock and poultry sectors offset the decline in fisheries production.
The third-quarter growth was a reversal of the 0.6% decline in the second quarter and the 2.6% decline in the same quarter in 2021.
For the period January-September, the value of agricultural production rose slightly by 0.3%, reversing the 2.5% decline a year ago.
Despite the challenges, Ms Sombilla said the sector’s growth is likely to be driven by the crop, livestock and poultry sectors.
“I think the fourth quarter will give us a positive outlook,” she said.
However, Ms Sombilla said prosecutors see no shortage of supplies of agricultural commodities next year.
“We have no shortage of rice, low initial stocks, yes. We have suffered casualties from consecutive typhoons, but we have no shortage of supplies,” she said.
Several typhoons this year caused significant agricultural damage and supply shortages. This has pushed up the prices of key agricultural commodities in recent months.
Headline inflation accelerated to a 14-year high of 8% in November, mainly due to rising food prices. Vegetable, fruit and rice prices rose due to lower production caused by typhoon damage and higher input costs.
Senior Undersecretary of Agriculture Domingo F. Panganiban said onion supplies will be sufficient next year as local supplies hit the market in January and February.
“I think we’re able to have more supply by next year,” he said at the same briefing.
Assistant Secretary of Agriculture James A. Layug said the department is now in coordination with the Justice Department to form a legal team against farm smuggling.
Meanwhile, Mr. Panganiban defended President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.’s decision to extend tariff cuts on pork, corn and rice until December 31, 2023.
He said the DA is working to increase production of agricultural products and additional imports would ensure sufficient supply is available and prices remain stable.
“We need to balance supplies in case of typhoons during harvest season. We don’t want people to suffer when prices rise. We need to stabilize production to lower the price,” Ms. Sombilla said. — AEOJ