Agriculture is a prime mover in the Philippine economy, with raw materials being utilized to produce an array of products for food and industrial applications. According to the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS), agriculture and fisheries accounted for about 12% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2011 and employed 33% or 12.27 million of the country’s total workforce. Palay, corn and sugarcane production increased by 5.78%, 9.32% and 58.27%, respectively; while poultry increased by 4%. Additionally, output for cattle, hog and dairy have increased by 1.79%, 2.22% and 3.72%, respectively.
Meanwhile, export earnings from tuna, fresh bananas and pineapple products increased by an average of 33.86%. While BAS reported trade surplus with Japan and the European Union in 2011, the country maintained trade deficits with Australia, USA, ASEAN countries and the rest of the world markets.
Experts believe that the agriculture industry can further tap export and growth opportunities by diversifying production systems with more value-added and processed products that can also generate additional livelihood activities in the rural areas. This can be attained by enhancing mechanization technologies in production infrastructures and common service facilities such as communal irrigators, tractor pools, postharvest facilities for rice, corn and vegetables, feed mills, abattoirs, dressing plants, cutting floors and cold storage, among others.