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Western Visayas tops regions in 2020 agri growth

AGRICULTURAL OUTPUT growth in the Western Visayas in 2020 was 4.7%, the highest of the 16 regions monitored by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), driven by the crops and poultry sectors.

In its regional agricultural production accounts report posted on its website, the PSA said Western Visayas crop production grew 10.2%, while the region logged a 0.4% increase in poultry production in 2020.

“The growth of crops is very strong across the board for Western Visayas. Livestock, poultry and fisheries didn’t grow much. But because of the strong growth of crops, (agricultural production in the region) was able to grow by 4%,” Roehlano M. Briones, a senior research fellow who specializes in agricultural policy at the Philippine Institute for Development Studies, told BusinessWorld by phone Wednesday.

Among the crops seeing an increase in production last year were sugarcane, Mr. Briones noted. The value of sugarcane production in the Western Visayas rose 20% in 2020 to P27.64 billion.

Mr. Briones said sugarcane production continues the momentum of last year’s strong harvest.

“It’s good to see that perhaps the sugarcane industry is turning around at least in that region,” he said.

The Caraga region’s agricultural output grew 3.6%, also on improving crops and poultry production, while the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao logged a rise of 2.2% led by crops, poultry and fisheries.

The PSA said Calabarzon experienced the biggest reduction in agricultural production of 8%, driven by falls in the crops and livestock sectors.

Mr. Briones said Calabarzon’s palay farmgate price, which the PSA said averaged P15.27 per kilogram in 2020, was “on a long-term downward trend compared to what it was before the rice tariffication law.”

The agricultural growth percentages are based on the value of production at constant 2018 prices. — Angelica Y. Yang

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