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DAR expects a recovery in agribusiness performance in the fourth quarter.

Despite a drop in livestock in the third quarter, Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary William Dar is optimistic about the agriculture sector’s performance in the fourth quarter (Q4) of the year (Q3).

“We predict a better fourth-quarter performance, assuming no significant typhoons hit us before the end of the year,” Dar said in a statement late Tuesday.

“Despite the many challenges we faced this year, we hope to post at least 1% growth this year, and look forward to a more respectable performance in 2022, thanks to continued partnerships with local government units, the private sector, and organized small farmers’ and fishers’ groups and cooperatives,” he added.

The DA took satisfaction in the significant gains in the palay (unhusked rice) and poultry subsectors at first, but these were insufficient to improve the country’s agriculture and fishing sectors’ performance in the third quarter of 2021.

According to the latest data issued Monday by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the value of agriculture and fisheries production at constant 2018 prices declined by 2.6 percent in the third quarter of the year, compared to 0.7 percent growth in the same period last year.

“We are encouraged that palay production has kept on pace, increasing its value by 6.7 percent,” Dar added, despite the agri-fishery sector’s poor performance in the third quarter.

“Furthermore, our broiler raisers and chicken and duck egg producers are shouldering the burden, as the value of poultry production increased by 1.3 percent, while chicken and duck egg output increased by 8.1 percent and 7%, respectively, according to PSA estimates,” he continued.

The livestock subsector, on the other hand, saw a -15.2 percent drop in the value of production, driven down by the hog industry’s 17.8% decline due to the ongoing epidemic of the African swine fever (ASF) pandemic.

According to the PSA report, palay production for the first nine months of the year is predicted to exceed 12.53 million metric tons (MMT), based on standing crops in August, combining the first-semester output of 8.8 MMT and the projected third-quarter harvest of 3.73 MMT.

The estimated harvest for the third quarter is 5% higher than the 11.9 MMT palay yield for the same period last year.

Meanwhile, Dar said that increasing the country’s corn production remains a major challenge, as the projected 6.28-MMT harvest for the nine-month period this year, which includes the actual first-semester harvest and estimated yield in the third quarter, is 3% lower than the 6.47-MMT harvest for the same period in 2020.

He stated that the government will “push harder” to assist the sector in achieving output growth in the fourth quarter.

“We’ll be doing a lot more in the last part of the year,” he said.

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