THE Zamboanga Peninsula's economy, anchored on the strong performance of the agriculture, fishery and forestry (AFF) sector, surged by 4.8 percent from 2.0 percent in 2008 to 6.8 percent in 2009.

Mewchun Pamaran, regional head of the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB), said the AFF, which is 49.3 percent of the region's total economy, expanded significantly from one percent in 2008 to 7.8 percent in 2009.

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The increase in the production of fishery and agricultural crops, specifically palay, banana, abaca, and mango, according to Pamaran, brought the remarkable improvement.

Forestry, meanwhile, plunged further from negative 9.9 percent in 2008 to negative 21.3 percent last year, Pamaran said.

Mining and quarrying rebounded from a negative 31.6 percent growth in 2008 to 202.0 percent in 2009 because of the remarkable increase in the production of gold, silver and copper, Pamaran said. This contributed 17.7 percent of Zamboanga Peninsula's total output.

TVI Resource Development (TVIRD), which is into copper mining in Mount Canatuan, Siocon, Zamboanga del Norte, tops the region's mining industry.

Pamaran added that manufacturing, construction, electricity and water posted decelerated growths of 2.3 percent, 7.1 percent and 2.0 percent, respectively in 2009.

The service sector, which is 33 percent of Zamboanga Peninsula's economy, posted a slower growth of 2.8 percent in 2009 from 2.9 percent in 2008, Pamaran said.

Finance also surged from 2.8 percent in 2008 to 8.5 percent in 2009 due to the high growth in bank revenues.

Private services grew from 0.6 percent in 2008 to 4.6 percent in 2009, while government services rose to seven percent in 2009 from 4.3 percent in 2008.

Transport, communication and storage and trade and ownership, dwellings and real estate, however, posted decelerated growths at 4.3 percent, 0.1 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively, in 2009.

Zamboanga Peninsula's growth rate of 6.8 percent last year is ranked second to Bicol Region that has registered the highest growth of 8.2 percent, Pamaran said. (Bong Garcia)