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Piñol sees agri growth in 2017

Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol expects the agriculture and fishery sector to register positive growth for the last quarter of 2016 and throughout 2017 after three quarters of sluggish performance.

Piñol told reporters that rains would have a positive impact on agricultural production.

“They said we will be hit by La Niña. That’s good. Rains bring water in the irrigation canal. So instead of dry season planting, we will have water. And next is wet season planting,” he said.

Piñol was optimistic about the positive growth in the agriculture and fishery sector in the last quarter.

“Harvest will still start in the third quarter. After harvesting, planting of dry season crops will start in the fourth quarter,” he said, declining to give a growth estimate for this quarter.

Farm output decreased by 3.48 percent in the January to June period.

For the second quarter alone, crops and fish yields dropped by 2.34 percent due to the prolonged dry spell caused by the El Niño weather phenomenon.

Meantime in Cagayan Valley, Piñol has directed the regional agriculture office to help farmers of Isabela province whose corn and rice farms are drying up due to the lack of rain in recent weeks.

Piñol made the order during his recent visit to Quirino province to meet with farmers.

He said he has received reports from Isabela’s provincial government that thousands of farmers have been affected by the drought.

Piñol said he has tasked executive director of the regional agriculture office, Lucrecio Alviar, to monitor the situation in Isabela and to do what is necessary to help the farmers, without getting clearance from the Secretary.

He said he will soon visit Isabela, Cagayan and Kalinga to address the concerns of farmers in the three provinces. (PNA)