Agriculture, fishery and forestry sector Region I's top contributor to economy in 2006
By Renee F. De Guzman
San Fernando City, La Union (22 October) -- Despite its slowed growth, the agriculture, fishery and forestry sector still emerged as the Ilocos Region's top contributor to the economy in 2006.
Coming from a strong performance of 7.7 percent growth rate in 2005, AFF sector's growth rate however tapered off to 7.3 percent in 2006 due to the lower production of other crops and livestock. The decelerated growth was the second time in seven years after the sector has recovered from the negative 0.1 percent growth it posted in 1999.
According to Babylyn Abulencia, Statistical Coordinator III of the National Statistics Coordinating Board in Region I, the agriculture fishery and forestry sector contributed 3.1 percentage points to the 6.2 percent growth of the region's Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP).
The 6.2 percent growth posted by the region is the highest in nine years. From 1996 to 2001, the GRDP exhibited a downward-upward growth highlighted by its slump in 1999, Abulencia said.
Starting in 2002 however, the GRDP's growth rate has been generally improving recording a five-year average of 5.0 percent from 2002-2006, she added.
It was the first time since l999 that the agriculture, fishery and forestry sector had the biggest share to the GRDP at 43.4 percent.
The service sector which used to be the region's biggest contributor from 1999-2005, comprised 43.0 percent in 2006. The decreased share of the sector is attributed to the slower growth of the trade sector.
On the other hand, the industry sector's contribution continued to decrease after it fall to a dismal 13.6 percent in 2006 as mining and quarrying, electricity, gas and water businesses recorded negative growths in the same year.
On the national front, agricultural exports grow 9.2% to $1.66 – billion for the first seven months of 2007 despite the long dry spell that affected many areas of Luzon and Visayas.
Fishery products like carageenan and tuna, along with high value crops like coconuts, pineapple and mangoes continue being the country's top agricultural merchandize exports.
The DA's aggressive efforts to strengthen existing export markets and tap new ones for agricultural products is in consonance with its five-pronged program to sustain and accelerate farm growth and raise rural incomes by making farming more profitable for its small stakeholders.
This five-point program includes public spending on (1) infrastructure, 2) technology and extension services, and (3) post harvest and storage facilities; and (4) expanding access to rural credit, and (5) opening new markets here and overseas for Philippine agro-fishery products.
Strategies to help boost Philippine agri-exports are being spearheaded in the Department by the Export Development Team. This group was recently created by Sec. Yap to widen the country's agri- export base and to create alternative markets for Philippine agriculture and fisheries products. The team is being headed by Undersecretary Puyat. (PIA La Union) [top]