Agri sector contracts in Q1
The agriculture sector contracted in the first quarter by 4.4 percent due to the El Niño phenomenon and will continue to reel from it, Planning Secretary Emmanuel Esguerra said.
In his briefing on the first quarter economic growth, Esguerra said the income of households dependent on agriculture also declined due to lower output despite efforts at food management and prevention of price spikes.
He said there is a pressing need to build the socioeconomic resiliency of individuals and communities through productivity improvements, crop and income diversification, disaster preparedness, social protection, access to saving instruments and social insurance programs.
He said public spending on infrastructure in terms of transport and logistics must be raised because of its roles in agriculture.
“The development of a seamless multi-modal transport network as well as improving logistics such as storage and handling mechanisms will enable a more cost-efficient movement of goods and services across regions,” he said.
He said investments in shared services and facilities, research and development and the use of modern technology will also be important in modernizing agricultural production and increasing resiliency to disasters.
He said these investments should enable the sector to access local and foreign markets.
However, Esguerra said government should start preparing for the La Niña, which has a 75 percent probability of occurrence.