THE PHILIPPINE Statistics Authority (PSA) reports that the Philippine agricultural production dropped by 2.6 percent in the second quarter of the year, compared with the 0.7-percent increase recorded in the same period for the past year.

The agency attributed the drop to the decline in crops, livestock and fisheries production.

Typhoons and other weather disturbances contributed to heavy damage to crop production, especially in Central Luzon that is considered the rice granary capital of the country.

For the first nine months of 2021, the value of livestock production declined by 19.4 percent. The African swine fever immensely impacted livestock production. Also, the fisheries output, which contributed 16.3 percent to the total agriculture and fisheries production, fell by 6.4 percent. Overfishing in some areas contributed to the slack in production.

The country is basically agriculture-based. It is in this sector where our country comes up with an uptick in overall revenues, so it is but imperative that authorities look up to the sector and its stakeholders.

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Despite the presence of the Philippine-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement, our agricultural products have been ignored by Japan because of the insistence of the Philippines to Tokyo in the renegotiation market access issue or preferential if not zero tariff rates for the said agriculture products.

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At the Philippines-China Economic Trade Promotions conference last November 7, 2021, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo urged Chinese firms to invest in the Philippines in the field of ore and cobalt mining, assembly and manufacture of finished products particularly consumer durables, including transport equipment and consumer electronics, information technology products and household appliances.

It was reported that our Board of Investments (BOI), an office under the Department of Trade and Industry, has registered two Chinese investor firms which are engaged in the manufacture of motorcycles, bikes and e-vehicles.

Rodolfo said he hopes other Chinese firms would engage in the manufacture of health-related products including medicines, vaccines and medical devices.

With all these activities, it is not far-fetched that Chinese involvement in our country would be deep and far-reaching.