By Cai Ordinario, Businessmirror, JANUARY 10, 2017
The Duterte administration has set a more modest production target for the agriculture and fisheries sector as indicated in the draft Philippine Development Plan (PDP) chapter of the Department of Agriculture (DA).
The national government is keen on growing farm production by 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent annually starting this year until 2022, when the President steps down from office. The previous administration had initially targeted to increase annual agriculture and fisheries output by 3 percent to 5 percent.
However, the latest target is higher than the 1-percent average growth posted in the 2013 to 2015 period. In 2014 and 2015, the baseline growth was only at 0.1 percent.
“The sector has yet to overcome recurring challenges related to productivity, competitiveness, climate and disaster risks, and resource degradation and depletion,”
the draft chapter read.
“Greater trade liberalization, e.g., implementation of the Asean Economic Comnunity [AEC] and free-trade agreements, and lifting of quantitative restrictions [QR] on rice in 2017 provides opportunities to the sector, as well as poses risks to small farmers and fishermen who remain uncompetitive,” it added.
The draft economic blueprint noted that population growth and aging farmers pose a threat to the local agriculture sector. As the country’s population rises, more resources are needed to produce food, and as farmers and fishermen age, there could be a drop in production.
“The average age of palay, corn, bangus and tilapia farm operators range from 48 to 55. While the sector’s work force gets older, the younger population finds more attractive employment opportunities outside the agriculture sector. If this situation persists, food production may be threatened,” the document read.
For the crops subsector, which accounts for nearly half of agriculture and fisheries output, the government is targeting to hike production by 2 percent to 3 percent annually from 2017 to 2022.
To hit these goals, the draft PDP indicated that paddy-rice output should grow by 3.95 percent this year, 4.2 percent in 2018, 4.32 percent in 2019, 4.36 percent in 2020, 4.41 percent in 2021 and 4.45 percent in 2022.
Livestock and poultry production should also grow by 3 percent to 4 percent annually and forestry by 2 percent to 3 percent.
The government is also targeting to increase commercial fishing production by 2.5 percent and municipal fishing by 1 percent annually between 2017 and 2022. Aquaculture-production growth target was set by the government at 5 percent every year.