NEGROS Occidental's vegetables and root crops production slightly decreased in 2017, a report of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed.
Annual production and area harvested reports of PSA-Negros Occidental showed that production of major vegetables and root crops in the province last year was pegged at 49,870 metric tons.
The figure is about 107 metric tons lower than the 49,977 metric tons produced in 2016, it added.
Joely Cabarles, officer-in-charge of PSA-Negros Occidental, said the reduction of about 0.20 percent is "very slight" and should not be alarming.
Cabarles said vegetables and root crops have become alternative crops only especially in rain-fed areas or even irrigated lands without sufficient water supply.
"Production of these agricultural commodities is sometimes subjected to crop rotation. Since other areas during cropping season are still planted with palay, the farmers will have to wait for harvest before they can plant mung beans and other vegetables," he added.
In terms of area, about 9,821 hectares were devoted to vegetables and root crops last year, slightly higher than 9,815 hectares in 2016.
Cabarles said sweet potato (kamote) and cassava comprised the biggest volume of production, at about 90 percent.
Of the total figure, kamote and cassava contributed 27 metric tons and 18 metric tons, respectively, or a combined production of 45 metric tons.
"These two crops set the trend in the local vegetables and root crops production," he said.
Vegetables and root crops are just one of the agricultural crop categories being surveyed by the PSA.
Others are production and harvested area for palay, corn, fruits, and non-food, industrial and commercial crops (NFICC).
Earlier, the PSA reported that palay production in Negros Occidental went up by 4.9 percent last year. Corn output also grew by 12.73 percent.
PSA-Negros Occidental also noted an increase in production of fruits at 0.6 percent and NFICC, specifically sugarcane, at 26.4 percent.
Amid this development, the PSA is seeing a positive trend in terms of the overall look of the province's agriculture sector.
"The Office of the Provincial Agriculturist continues to implement measures to improve the province's agricultural crop production especially palay," Cabarles said, adding that agriculture remains to be a major economic strength of Negros Occidental. (EPN)