Agricultural production in the Philippines grew in the third quarter to log the fastest in two years, but this failed to lift farmer incomes.
Farm output rose by 2.87 percent, reversing a 0.87 percent contraction in July-September 2018 amid greater produce for crops, livestock, poultry, and fisheries, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said. This is the fastest growth in the sector since the 6.22 percent pace tallied in the second quarter of 2017. Despite the bigger output, agricultural products were valued less last quarter at just ₱395.3 billion, down 3.6 percent from last year.
Crop production, which accounts for 45 percent of the total, picked up by 2 percent during the quarter led by corn, which surged by 23.5 percent year-on-year. The resurgence of corn came from planters in the Cagayan Valley, with the PSA citing their recovery from Typhoon Ompong in 2018 that ruined their crops. Some farmers in the area also converted cassava and sugarcane plantations into land for corn.
Overall, farmer profits from farmgate prices dropped by an average of 6.33 percent during the quarter. Coconut harvests steadied, while pineapples and mangoes enjoyed gains of 0.97 percent and 0.89 percent, respectively.