The growth of the farm sector in the third quarter is a clear signal that the Department of Agriculture (DA) needs to step up efforts to significantly increase food production and modernize the sector that provides jobs for one in every four Filipinos.

The Philippine Statistics Authority announced Thursday (November 9, 2023) that gross domestic product, the sum of all goods and services produced in the country during a certain period, rose a faster 5.9 percent in the third quarter from 4.3 percent in the second quarter, with agriculture contributing 0.08 percentage points to GDP as it expanded 0.9 percent in the third quarter.

The performance of agriculture, forestry and fisheries in the third quarter was a 1.4 percent improvement compared to the second quarter due to growth in fishing, aquaculture, sugarcane production, and poultry output. 

Livestock and poultry continued their expansion despite production challenges posed by the lingering African Swine Flu and the Avian Influenza.

“While we’re thankful that agriculture continues to contribute to economic growth, we shouldn’t be satisfied with its share in expanding gross domestic product given its role in ensuring food security, creating jobs and reducing poverty,” Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. said.

“Everyone in the Department of Agriculture should start rolling up their sleeves, myself especially, to ensure that the farm sector could produce more as we carry out President Marcos’ mandate to modernize agriculture,” he added.

Laurel is scheduled to travel around the country to meet farmers, fishermen and other stakeholders in the agriculture sector to get a better grasp of the situation on ground and to rally support for the Marcos administration’s agricultural transformation initiative that will include widening irrigation coverage, using better seeds, mechanizing farm activities and utilizing appropriate fertilizers. ### (Reference: Asec. Arnel de Mesa, Assistant Secretary for Operations)