The country’s agricultural sector will feel the effects of consecutive destructive typhoons at the end of 2020 and the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (Searca) has projected the sector’s performance for January to March 2021 to be in the negative, declining by as much as 1.21 percent.
The growth momentum of the sector was stalled following the consecutive typhoons that hit the country in the last quarter of 2020 that damaged nearly P12 billion in farm produce.
Of the subsectors, Searca noted that only fisheries will likely post a positive growth at 3.05 percent. Crops, livestock and poultry will all post declines of 1.17 percent, 6.33 percent, and 3.99 percent, respectively.
However, Searca director Glenn Gregorio is optimistic that the rest of the quarters of 2021 will show a positive growth as the sector becomes more adapted and innovative. To maximize the contribution of agriculture to the economy, the think tank called for an improved logistics and transport system to increase the competitiveness of the sector.
Gregorio emphasized that the Philippines needs to invest in an integrated infrastructure system that lowers production and transportation costs across different supply chains, transforming the sector with resilient systems amid the significant impact of floods and typhoons that are expected to intensify as the planet’s climate changes.
2020 has shown that Filipino farmers also need to consider other potential external disruptions like the Covid-19 pandemic but the system, in general, has already been in need of adaptation and improvement, including improved access to climate and weather data, stress-tolerant crop varieties, good agricultural practices, crop insurance system, extension system and modern technological support, and innovative financial capital.
Growing the agriculture sector is a long term initiative that will require more focus from the government, especially as the country struggles to recover from the pandemic.*