18 August 1998
FARMERS in the Philippines saw agricultural output slump 7.2% in the first half of the year because of the El Niño weather phenomenon. The output of crops did even worse – down by 14.6%.
Rice and grain were particularly hard hit. Corn production fell 44% year-on-year, while palay rice production was 27% lower.
Recommendations to help the ailing farming sector were made in a recent report by the Asian Development Bank. These included improving rural infrastructure, a re-starting of the stalled land reform programme and increasing the area of land under irrigation.
But the Government is under financial pressure and has already announced a 25% across-the-board spending cut.
Agriculture represents about 20% of gross domestic production in the Philippines and employs about 44% of the workforce.
- Financial Times 18/08/98 page 4