Agriculture dep’t scales back 2016 output growth target due to late-year typhoons Nina, Lawin, Karen


“I have to admit we would have to make some adjustments to our projection,” Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol told reporters on Tuesday, noting that the last quarter of 2016 may show a decline of 2% in output.

The final-quarter setback will put a dampener on a full-year target considered by economists to be ambitious.

THE Department of Agriculture (DA) said that it may miss its output growth target of 3-5% for 2016 due to late-year damage inflicted by typhoon Nina (International name: Nock-Ten).

“I would not be very optimistic at this point,” added Mr. Piñol, referring to full-year growth, noting he will be satisfied if the year’s result matches 2015 growth of 0.5%.

Mr. Piñol said typhoon Nina damaged the rice, abaca, and coconut crops in its transit through the Bicol Region and Calabarzon, the region formerly known as Southern Tagalog and consisting of the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon.

The DA’s initial reports released Tuesday showed that as of Jan. 3, a total of 123,994 hectares were affected by the storm, resulting in the loss of crops amounting to 385,728 metric tons (MT). The storm also affected nearly 67,000 farmers in Calabarzon and Bicol.

Losses to the rice crop amounted to 204,103 MT, valued at about P2.37 billion, followed by the high-value crops category as well as corn, where the losses were 104,124 MT and 56,826 MT respectively and valued at P1.79 billion and P608.85 million.

Mr. Piñol said the department will deploy P500 million from its quick response fund in the wake of the storm and will request for additional funds on top of that.

Engineer Christopher V. Morales of the DA’s Field Operations Division told reporters yesterday that the National Disaster Risk Reduction & Management Council (NDRRMC) will conduct its own damage assessment and will help determine how the funds will be allotted to the typhoon-affected areas.

Mr. Morales also said that typhoon Nina’s reported damage, consolidated with those of earlier typhoons Lawin and Karen in October will also contribute to the drop in the agriculture sector’s performance last quarter. — Janina C. Lim


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