Agriculture sector remains ‘lethargic’ in Central Visayas

THE agriculture sector in Central Visayas suffered a 4.9-percent production loss during the first half of the year, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) 7 reported.

In its recently released Regional Economic Situationer (RES), the agency noted that while the regional economy’s growth “accelerated” during the first six months, with exports and tourist arrivals increasing at a faster rate, the agriculture sector remained “lethargic.”

NEDA, however, noted that most of the industries in the region that were badly hit by the global economic crisis have recovered.

The region incurred a 17.2-percent loss in crop production after the El Nino-induced dry spell damaged many farms, the report said.

Farmers in Central Visayas produced only 118,135 metric tons of “palay,” or rice, from January to June this year, a 13.4-percent drop from the volume of rice produced in the region a year ago.

”Many paddies in the region dried up as a result of the dry spell. This compelled farmers to postpone panting activities. Even irrigated farms failed to deliver better produce because of insufficient supply of water,” NEDA said.

However, production in the fisheries, livestock and poultry sectors increased during the first semester.

Production from municipal fishery and aquaculture went up, but production from commercial fishing dropped by 8.9 percent.

”One of the reasons cited by authorities for the decline in commercial fishery production is the worsening impact of climate change on the region’s marine resources,” NEDA said.

The lower production was also blamed on the reduced fishing trips among commercial fishing operators, who felt that the volume of their fish catch is not enough to cover the cost of fishing activities.

Aquaculture, the report pointed out, is “the impetus of growth of the fishery sector,” as it accounted for more than 50 percent of the region’s fishery production.

NEDA noted that in Negros Oriental, four hectares of rice farms in Canlaon City were damaged by El Nino during the fist quarter of the year, while 43 hectares of farms in Tayasan and Bayawan City were damaged during the second quarter.

”In the case of Siquijor, their farms were infested with birds during the maturing stage of rice. This pulled down further rice yield in the province during the second quarter,” said the report.

Corn production in the region also dropped by 26,280 metric tons from 34,096 metric tons a year ago, after around 60 hectares of corn farms were damaged by the dry spell during the second quarter of the year.PNA


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