Solid growth for Mindanao agri products amid natural calamities

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Friday, July 11, 2014


MINDANAO has continued to make substantial contributions to the country’s agriculture output, maintaining its strength as an agriculture-based economy despite natural calamities that pulled down production in some sectors.

Selected industrial crops, fruit crops, and fisheries in Mindanao fared well in their production output as reported in the “Performance of the Philippine Agriculture” by the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Agricultural Statistics 2013.

The island-region accounted for almost 100 percent share in the nation’s rubber production in 2013. Out of 444,793 metric tons (MT) produced by the country, 444,653 MT were sourced from Mindanao. This represents a minimal growth of 0.4 percent, spurred by an increase in areas planted and in number of mature tappable trees.

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“Mindanao is the biggest rubber producer in the country, attributed to rich soil and good climatic conditions in its rubber-producing regions,” said Luwalhati Antonino, chair of the Mindanao Development Authority (Minda).

Zamboanga Peninsula was the country’s top rubber producer with a 43.9 percent share in the total output, followed by South Cotabato Sultan Kudarat Sarangani General Santos (Socsksargen) Growth Area at 38.9 percent and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Armm) at 10.5 percent. Combined production of these two regions accounted for 93.3 percent of the nation’s rubber production in 2013.

Mindanao also contributed 88.8 percent to the total pineapple output in the same year, contributing 2,182,171 MT to the country’s total production of 2,458,423 MT, representing a 2.4 percent growth.

Production growth was influenced by reduced insect infestation and bigger fruits harvested in Zamboanga Peninsula, and expansion of corporate farms in Northern Mindanao.

The country’s top pineapple producers in 2013 were Northern Mindanao and Soccsksargen whose combined output is 87.4 percent of Mindanao’s total production.

While banana production contracted by 7.2 percent in the island-region, producing 7,013,207 MT in 2013 compared to 7,559,047 MT in 2012, it still accounted for 81.1 percent of the total banana production in the country last year.

The decline is attributed to banana plantations in Davao Province that have not yet fully recovered after being leveled by Typhoon Pablo in December 2012. Despite this, Davao continues to be the country’s top banana producer with a 37 percent share in the national production, followed by Northern Mindanao at 20 percent and Soccsksargen at 14 percent.

Mindanao’s cassava production grew by 7.2 percent, climbing from 1,690,383 MT in 2012 to 1,812,243 MT in 2013 backed by increased demand for commercial use, prompting farmers in Bukidnon and Armm to expand their farms.

Mindanao’s total cassava output accounted for 76.8 percent of the nation’s overall production of 2,360,527 MT, with Armm and Northern Mindanao as the highest producing regions with a combined share of 69.3 percent.

Owing also to the destruction wrought by Typhoon Pablo in Davao and crop shifting from coffee to banana in Compostela Valley and Davao City, total production of all varieties of coffee in dried berries in Mindanao dropped by 9.0 percent, from 65,453 MT in 2012 to 59,564 MT last year.

“Still, Mindanao posted a share of 75.8 percent of the total coffee production in 2013, and the country’s top coffee producers are found here,” said Antonino, referring to Soccsksargen, Davao Region, and the Armm which respectively contributed 36.7 percent, 15.8 percent, and 13.3 percent to the national output.

Its coconut industry also made ample contribution to overall production at 58.8 percent, accounting for 9,021,844 MT of the total 15,344,919 MT. This is actually lower than its 2012 production output of 9,405,317 MT, representing a 4.1 percent decline caused by low production in areas hit by Typhoon Pablo.

The corn industry in Mindanao also had a minimal growth of 0.2 percent last year. However, it still accounted for 50.2 percent of the nation's total output of 7,377,076 MT, putting in the highest production at 3,700,023 MT among all areas.

The marginal growth was caused by reduced harvest areas and lesser yields when corn fields in Armm were damaged by Typhoon Gorio in the second quarter of 2013. Soccsksargen and Northern Mindanao posted the highest output among the six regions, with Northern Mindanao having the best yield at 3.18 MT per hectare.

In the fisheries sector, Mindanao posted 2.5 percent growth in its municipal fisheries, up from 408,637 MT to 418,902 MT in 2013, contributing 33.1 percent to the country’s municipal fishing production.

The BAS report cited interventions by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) behind the positive performance, such as the dispersing good quality fingerlings, the increasing stocking rate in Davao del Sur, and the low mortality rate due to good maintenance in Maguindanao.

Commercial fisheries grew by 1.4 percent, with an increase of 8,185 MT compared to year-ago levels and contributing 54.3 percent to the total commercial fishing production. Soccsksargen bested all regions with its output of 218,390 MT, equivalent to a 38 percent growth.

The poultry subsector grew by 4.5 percent while the livestock subsector had a minimal growth of 0.3 percent. Poultry’s positive performance stemmed from high demand from institutional buyers in urban areas, giving Caraga a growth of 18.8 percent, Soccsksargen at 5.2 percent, and Zamboanga Peninsula at 5.1 percent.

While Mindanao’s duck meat production fell by 1.8 percent, Northern Mindanao posted a positive growth of 4.8 percent influenced by new investments on commercial Peking duck production for export to Asian countries. In total, the livestock sector contributed 24.6 percent to the country’s total production.

“Despite vulnerability of some regions in Mindanao caused by climate change, as a whole it continues to show resilience in its agriculture performance, putting in its significant share in the country’s food security,” Antonino said. (PR)

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on July 12, 2014.

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