DA-Visayas sees growth in farm/fishery sector, demands driven by pandemic



CEBU CITY—The farm/fishery sector in the Visayas sees a stable growth in 2021 as demands of farm and fishery products continue to increase driven by the pandemic since last year.

The regional heads of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in regions 6 and 7 shared this optimistic view on the positive prospects for the agriculture sector this year noting that the agriculture sector was one of the performing industries in these regions.

DA-6 regional director Engr. Remelyn Recoter cited as example the 8.7 percent increase in palay production in 2020 when compared to that of 2019 and “we want to sustain our gains that we have posted in 2020,” she said during the Mugstoria Ta, an online conversation hosted by Asec Jonji Gonzales of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV) Monday.

Recoter added that crucial to the sector’s sustained growth is the funding support from the national government to Filipino farmers and fisherfolk, the need to reboot the agriculture sector to adapt to the changing times brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Recoter that due to the strict community quarantines last year one of crucial measures done in the sector was to link agriculture producers to the consumers. The “Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita” program helped bring farm produce to the consuming public.

She added that at the height of the lockdowns last year, demands for farm products skyrocketed as more people are forced to stay home and cook their own food and even produce their own produce.

DA-7 regional executive director Atty. Salvador Diputado meanwhile, attributed the sector’s growth to the increased involvement of local government units (LGUs) in agriculture-related initiatives.

“Last year, we have provided farm inputs and equipment to our farmers. Our convergence with the LGUs is important in identifying the needs of the farmers in the different localities,” Diputado said.

Angel Enriquez, regional executive director of DA-8 on the other hand said that the government’s increased investment into the agriculture sector has contributed to its growth performance.  Rice and corn production in Region 8 reached 96 percent and 94 percent respectively of the target set for the year 2020.

Moving forward, Enriquez expressed hope that they’ll be able to launch more high-value commodities from Eastern Visayas known for their good quality like jackfruit.

“We have high-value commodities that we want to be renowned just like the mango of Cebu. In Eastern Visayas, we have good varieties of abaca and coconut,” Enriquez said.