Agriculture sector says 2.5% 2018 growth is 'doable'
Agriculture Secretary Manny Pinol on Tuesday said the target set by the administration's economic managers is "doable".
In a press briefing in Quezon City, Pinol said the department's target for 2018 is at 2.5 percent.
Though they cannot attain their forecast target due to typhoons in the past few months, he said the two percent asked by the country's economic managers is possible.
"The economic managers asked DA (Department of Agriculture) to maintain a growth of 2 percent. It has to keep up with the population growth of 1.7 percent. I think 2 percent is doable," Pinol said.
"We are confident that we can hit it," he added.
Pinol said for 2019, the forecast growth is between 2.5 to 3.5 percent.
He said they are expecting the fisheries sector to post positive growth next year as they are now addressing post-harvest issues.
"Middle of this year, I called all the regional directors of BFAR (Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources) and directed (them) to rehabilitate all existing hatcheries nationwide because we are intending to produce at least two-thirds of what we are currently import in terms of fingerlings locally," he said.
"Right now, we are importing about three billion fingerlings every year and we are expecting to produce about two billion fingerlings by next year," Pinol said.
Further growth is expected in livestock and poultry after the DA will produce more feed that will benefit raisers because these are cheaper.
A boost in the rice sector is expected once the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund or RCEF is signed by the president.
"With 10 billion minimum every year, we are expecting that we will be able to serve good quality seeds needs by our farmers," Pinol said.
The DA is expecting to harvest around six metric tons per hectare per harvest by 2020.
"We are confident that with RCEF.. we will be able to achieve this by 2020. We are on track as far as our projection is concerned even if from time to time we get hit by calamities and disasters," Pinol said.
Based on their yearend report from January to September, agriculture and fisheries sector grew by 0.15 percent driven by growth in livestock and poultry subsectors at 2.15 percent and 5.456 percent respectively.
Declines were observed in crops at 3.64 percent and fisheries subsector at 2.64 percent due to damage by typhoons and decreased production of fish. Ella Dionisio/DMS