NEDA says agri business will drive trade growth
National Economic and Development Authority said that while sustained double-digit growth in imports pushed up total trade in January 2018, the building on the agribusiness sector will further drive growth in trade.
Based on a report by the Philippine Statistics Authority, a NEDA-attached agency, total trade grew by 7.0 percent to USD13.8 billion backed by imports growing by 11.4 percent as most commodity groups sustained positive growth.
On the other hand, exports decelerated by 0.5 percent due to sluggish non-electronic and agro-based commodity sales – its slowest growth since December 2016.
“With the global economy still set for a higher growth trajectory in 2018, the Philippines is off to a good start. However, it is essential for the national government to continue on its initiatives to support exports growth,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia said in a statement today.
He said that the government is targeting an 8-percent growth in merchandise exports for 2018, supported by a revival of the agribusiness sector.
“To achieve this, the Philippines needs to build up integrated industries that would generate higher value addition, especially for key products such as bananas, cacao, coffee, mangoes, and rubber as well as for other emerging high value crops,” Pernia said.
He added that it is crucial to support large and small producers and develop niche markets such as organic farming to fully harness the potential of the agricultural sector.