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Monday, October 23, 2017 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES
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Date posted: Friday, December 11, 2015 | Manila, Philippines

Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing

Less damage from typhoons aids recovery

BAD WEATHER took its toll on companies in the farm sector, but the damage wrought by typhoon Glenda in 2014 was not as bad as Yolanda the previous year.

San Miguel Foods, Inc. -- the company behind the Magnolia and Monterey brand -- suffered a disruption in its poultry supply following Glenda’s onslaught on July 16, 2014, with the typhoon impact felt the most in the third quarter.

But the subsidiary of conglomerate San Miguel Corp. still saw sales climb last year, with its sales channels -- Magnolia Chicken Stations, Monterey Meat Shops, and food service accounts -- delivering a 6% growth.

The company capped off the year with a nationwide network of over 600 Monterey Meat Shops and 1,000 Magnolia Chicken stations, of which around 300 are located inside the Monterey outlets.

With its strong performance, San Miguel Foods remained as the top grosser among agriculture sector companies that made it to this year’s edition of the Top 1000 Corporations. The company raked in P93.60 billion in gross revenue -- up by 6% from 2013, allowing the agribusiness firm to hold onto 10th spot in the main ranking.

Profitability came in at P1.31 billion, or more than 38.9% higher year on year.

Eleven other agricultural and fishing firms made it to this year’s roster, enabling the sector to post an aggregate gross revenue of P153.94 billion, 5% higher than a year ago.

Banana grower Sumifru (Philippines) Corp. inched up 23 notches to No. 180, while Bounty Fresh Food, Inc., another poultry firm, climbed to the 207th spot from 229th in the previous year.

Philippine Statistics Authority data showed that the agriculture sector’s gross value added at constant 2000 prices inched up 1.6% to P717.82 billion, propped up by higher production in the crops, livestock and poultry subsectors.

Production of crops, which made up more than half of total agricultural output, grew by 3.3% due to an improvement in the harvest of palay (unmilled rice), corn and tobacco. Output in the segments was up by 2.9%, 5.3% and 14.3%, respectively. Livestock and poultry production also inched up by 1.02% and 0.27%, respectively. Fisheries bucked the trend, dropping by 0.15% year on year.

Hence, the sector’s growth remained in the 1% level. In the last five years, growth in the sector, which accounted for a tenth of gross domestic product, only averaged 1.1%, or slower than the overall economy.

In a bid to improve infrastructure, and ensure food security and income targets, the Department of Agriculture (DA) has introduced several initiatives, namely, farm mechanization, national organic agriculture and post-harvest development. The DA aims to make production less expensive, stabilize labor costs and reduce post-harvest losses through these schemes.

The government has also been expanding its crop insurance scheme under the DA’s food self-sufficiency program. Overseen by the state-owned Philippine Crop Insurance Corp., insurance coverage is available to rice, corn, fisheries, livestock, high-value commercial crops, coconut and non-crop assets.

But with the El Niño phenomenon forecast to be the most severe since 1998, Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala conceded that this year’s production target of 3.3%-4.3% is unlikely to be met.

First-half production was nearly flat at 0.73%, according to Philippine Statistics Authority-Bureau of Agricultural Statistics.

*Send e-mail to Kia at kbobang@bworldonline.com or follow her on Twitter @kiaobang.

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