The Philippines' agriculture grew 4.19 percent from January to September, with the crops subsector emerging as a top growth driver.
During the period, the agriculture sector increased 22.23 percent on-year, grossing PHP 836.3 billion (US$17 billion).
The crops subsector's total output for the January-September period increased 6.1 percent, with corn production rising 4.86 percent. The subsector grossed PHP 458.5 billion (US$9.3 million) or 30.38-percent higher on-year.
An increase in chicken yield led to a 4.8-percent production growth in the poultry subsector. In terms of value, the poultry subsector registered a 12-percent increase on-year, with its output valued at PHP 90.1 billion (US$1.83 billion).
Aquaculture grew 5.31 percent.
Only the livestock subsector failed to report a positive result, with hog production declining 2.7 percent, leading to a fall of 1.97 percent in total production. The livestock subsector grossed PHP 132.1 billion (US$2.68 billion), up 12.76 percent on-year.
The total agriculture growth for the first nine months of 2008 was, however, slightly lower than its 4.32-percent growth in the same period last year, according to Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap. Climate change, high fertiliser and fuel costs, and expensive transport charges have increased production costs sharply.
The fourth quarter of 2008 may register weaker farm growth due to the combined effects of typhoons and decline in the use of fertilisers following a sharp increase in domestic prices, said Yap.
Yap said the Department of Agriculture (DA) will continue its aggressive planting programmes for corn, and will set up additional postharvest facilities, water supply and irrigation systems next year to sustain the high growth path of the crops subsector.
Yap also said the DA will focus on investing in aquaculture next year.