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MANILA, Philippines – Agriculture, a main factor in the economic growth trajectory of the Philippines, was weighed down by weather related losses in 2011.
Climbing by only 2.34% in 2011, the agriculture sector growth was below government estimates of 3% to 3.5% due to the strong typhoons in the last quarter.
The weather disturbances reduced production of rice and corn, which account for almost 30% of the total agriculture sector.
“If not for the strong typhoons, crop production would have been better, especially rice. Good thing the sector exhibited strong performance during the first 3 quarters, enough to offset the lost harvest during the typhoon months,” Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala said during a media briefing on Tuesday, January 24.
Rice losses from typhoons in 2011 was estimated at 1.162 MMT, largely in the fourth quarter when palay output slipped by 8.72% to 5.93 MT. Corn production also declined by 9.79% to 1.4 million MT in the fourth quarter.
As a result, farmgate prices on average rose 8.98% in 2011. Crops prices increased by 13.96% while the price of fishery products went up by 6.17%.
The higher cost of food largely contributed to the overall increase in the prices of goods and services. For the entire 2011, the statistics office had said inflation grew faster at 4.8% in 2011 from 3.8% in 2010.
For 2012, Alcala said they are projecting a growth of 3% to 4%. But that, too, is hinged on better weather.
On previous years that strong typhoons hit the Philippines, overall economic growth was also pulled down.
Going by the gross domestic product (GDP) growth of only 3.6% in the first 9 months of 2011–and now the lower than expected actual growth in agriculture–the economic growth target of 4.5% to 5.5% for the entire 2011 may be a tough one to meet. – Rappler.com