By Alexander Villafania
QUEZON CITY, METRO MANILA - Despite natural disasters that ravaged many farming communities, the country's agricultural sector reached a gross value of P706.4 billion in the first six month of 2011, a 16% increase over the same period last year.
In a statement, Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Proceso Alcala said the agricultural sector grew 5.48% over the previous semester in 2010. The crop subsector contributed the most to the growth with 11.1% in growth over the previous semester. It posted P411.8 billion in gross earnings.
Palay (rice) output reached 7.58 million metric tons while corn output reached 3.3 million metric tons. Other major crops that grew in output during the first half of 2011 were sugarcane, tobacco, rubber, pineapple, banana, and abaca.
Meanwhile, the livestock subsector grossed P103.1 billion, which was 1.6% lower than the previous year, though hog output went up by just 1%.
Poultry grew by 3.6% and grossed P77.8 billion. It contributed 13.4% of the total agricultural production.
The fisheries industry hit P113 billion this year, just 1.1% better than the previous year.
This is because of lower commercial and municipal fish catch decreased by 15.6% and 2.7%, respectively. No indication if the recent fish kill in Batangas and Pangasinan contributed to the decrease in catch.
DA also noted that prices of crops increased by as much as 18% while fish prices were raised by up to 4.1%. Prices of livestock and poultry products slightly increased to 2.5% and 3.3%, respectively.
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