March 27, 2023

The National Economic Development Authority has attributed the region’s 2021 negative agricultural growth to the African swine fever (ASF) and the several days of monsoon rains that damaged crops, especially those in their flowering stage.

A NEDA report shared with the media showed the region’s gross regional domestic product logged a negative 1.7 percent growth for agriculture, forestry, and fishing, which is the region’s fourth economic driver, posting only 9.2 percent compared to the previous year’s contribution of about 10.2 percent.

During the regional economic performance report, NEDA-Cordillera Director Susan Sumbeling said while the movement of food was unrestricted in the country, there were several other factors related to the Covid-19 pandemic that affected the delivery of agricultural produce.

Hindi lang ‘yung pag-deliver ng vegetables but may pumapasok na smugglers and we cannot control that in the Cordillera because that is a national concern,” the director said.

She said the regional development council continues to coordinate and ask for assistance especially from the universities and colleges in the region to provide farmers the technical assistance on food processing.

“Like in Ifugao, we have done our initial coordination for the processing of vegetables in Tinoc. DA will provide the building and Ifugao State University will provide the equipment for processing,” she said.

She added while agriculture posted negative growth in 2021, it continues to contribute to the economy, bringing in P28.73 billion in 2021.

Aldrin Bahit, chief statistical specialist of the Philippine Statistics Authority-Cordillera, said there was a “negative growth rate but malaki pa rin ang contribution nito sa GRDP ng region (it still has a big contribution to the GRDP of the region). Thousands of metric tons pa rin naman bumababa lang ang production.”

The DA said the region produces about 85 percent of the “chopsuey” vegetable requirement of the country.

He said 244,000 metric tons of corn were produced in 2021, posting an 11.6 percent decrease in the number two agricultural produce in the region.

Bahit added cabbage also posted a negative 5.5 percent decrease in production, and potato posted an almost 11 percent decrease.

Hog production posted the biggest drop with a 58.1 percent decrease.

He said cassava and tuber production also posted a decrease in production.

“These decreases in production and the negative growth taken together posted a negative 1.7 percent decrease in agriculture output of the Cordillera,” he added.

Bahit, however, said while minimal, there is an annual decreasing trend in agricultural output of the Cordillera which must be addressed as the region is considered the top producer of vegetables.

PSA records showed that in 2019, agriculture posted a P29.87B contribution to the region’s economy but went down in 2020 to P29.23 B and P28.73 B in 2021. – PNA