THE WAY FORWARD │ Level Up Philippine Agriculture!

Dip in agri contribution to 2020 GDP ‘negligible’ – DA chief

Author: DA Communications Group | 28 January 2021

Agriculture Secretary William Dar sees green shoots of recovery for the sector in 2021 with the ‘negligible’ drop in the sector’s contribution to 2020 Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“Agriculture will be a driving force as the country pushes ahead with recovery amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The onslaught of the ‘perfect storm’ — starting with the eruption of Taal Volcano, continued incidence of the African Swine Fever (ASF), and a series of strong typhoons that ravaged the country in the latter part of the year — have pulled down sectoral performance. We have learned from these crises. Now, we will turn these lessons into opportunities to recover strongly,” said Secretary Dar.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) and the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) on January 28, reported a 9.5% contraction in GDP growth for 2020.

Among the three major economic sectors, agriculture contracted by a minuscule 0.02%, while the services and industry dipped by 5.5% and 4%, respectively.

In 2020, the agriculture sector logged in a 0.3% contraction during the first quarter (Q1), and managed to grow 1.6% and 1.2%, respectively, during Q2 and Q3 — earning the distinction of being one of the key pillars of the Duterte administration’s economic recovery efforts.

However, the sector contracted by 2.5% in Q4 of 2020, pulling down the full-year growth rate to -1.2%, as per the PSA.

“A big consolation was that the crops sub-sector posted a positive 1.5% growth, despite strong typhoons in October and November 2020,” the DA chief added.

The department launched this month its “One DA” program, a holistic approach guided by 12 key strategies to transform the country’s farming and fishery sectors towards a modern and industrialized Philippine agriculture.

“We have sound fundamentals — with systems and policies already in place that would allow us to bounce back strong in 2021 and beyond,” the DA chief said.

“We are on the right track. After this so-called ‘force majeure,’ we really don’t have anywhere to go but up,” he added.

Despite the challenges, he said the DA is confident of achieving a 2.5% growth in 2021.

“The agri-fishery sector was doing rather well during the protracted lockdown. With or without the pandemic, the reality is that people will need to eat, and farmers and fishers will have to continue to produce most of the nutritional requirements of some 109 million Filipinos and counting,” he said.

“This setback does not negate the fact that the agri-fishery sector remains a key pillar for the country’s economic recovery, and can positively contribute to achieving NEDA’s 6.5% to 7.5% growth target for 2021,” Secretary Dar said.

With the continuous recalibrated reopening of the economy, he expects that the farm and fishery sector will continue to perform well to increase food productivity to meet the demand of the consumer and services sectors. ### (DA StratComms)

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