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Lands devoted to farming shrink to 13.32-M hectares

Agriculture land areas in the Philippines, an archipelago of 7,107 islands with a total land area of 30 million hectares, have declined to 13.32 million hectares in 2018, resulting in lower farm output across different commodities.

Based on the Agricultural Indicators System (AIS) report on output and productivity of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the country’s harvested area of agricultural crops as of 2019 went down by 1.3 percentage points to 13.32 million hectares.

While the data didn’t indicate year-ago levels, a separate data from the United Nations’ (UN) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) showed the Philippines used to have 14.74 million hectares of land devoted to agriculture back in 1995.

From 2015 to 2019, PSA said the country’s total crop area grew by an average of 0.2 percent yearly.

By crop, the land devoted to palay, the country’s main staple, was also reduced by 3.1 percentage points to 4.65 million hectares as of last year, while the sugarcane area was 13.3 percentage points below the 2018 level.

Lower than the base year areas were also recorded in pineapple, cassava, sweet potato, coffee, tobacco, tomato, potato, ampalaya, and calamansi.

Meanwhile, percentage point increments in the harvested areas were recorded in banana, mango and coconut and larger area expansion was exhibited by onion and cacao at more than 11.0 percentage points each.

The AIS report then specified the volume of output per commodity during the time when the size of production areas fell.

For palay alone, production was at 18.81 million metric tons (MT), which was 1.3 percentage points below the base year’s record.

Sugarcane production in 2019 showed the biggest drop by 16.2 percentage points from the base year’s level.

Other major crops such as banana, cassava, coffee, potato, and mongo likewise exhibited production below 2018 levels, with production losses ranging from 0.4 percentage points to 3.4 percentage points.

Out of all the countries in the world, the Philippines is seen to suffer the largest decline in rice production this year and in 2021, with farmers seen to continue selling their land and totally abandon farming amid the continuous influx of imported rice, a Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) showed.

In terms of production, the GAIN report expects the Philippines to produce 11.4 million MT of rice this year and 11 million MT next year, while consumption is seen at 14.3 million MT this year and 14.5 million MT this year.

Hence, there is a need for more imported rice. For this year, the country’s rice imports are seen to be around 2.5 million MT, while it’s going to increase to 3.3 million MT in 2021.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) is now targeting to achieve palay output of as much as 22.12 million MT, equivalent to 13.51 million MT of rice.

Source: Manila Bulletin (

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