Philippines' 2013 farm output rises 1.15 pct, below target

Posted at 01/22/14 2:40 PM

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines' agricultural output last year rose 1.15 percent, way below the government's 4.3-5.3 percent growth target, as a series of natural calamities hit crops including rice, the Department of Agriculture said on Wednesday.

Higher poultry, livestock and fisheries production however, helped offset losses in crops, the agency said in a statement.

Typhoon “Yolanda” (Haiyan), one of the strongest storms ever to make landfall, hit agricultural areas in central Philippines in November, destroying crops such as rice, corn, sugar and coconut.

Unmilled rice output of one of the world's biggest importers of the grain rose 2.3 percent last year to 18.44 million tons. That was about 2 million tons lower, as expected, than the government's target set under its food self-sufficiency program this year.

Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said in a statement 2013 was a "a very challenging year."

"It also reminds us how weather-dependent agriculture is, and therefore the need to promote and support diversification and value-adding in food processing," he said.

Agricultural output accounts for about a fifth of the Southeast Asian nation's gross domestic product. The government will release official 2013 GDP data on Jan. 30.