By Rey Anthony Chiu | 08:10 PM June 23, 2023
TAGBILARAN CITY—If you are wondering why food scarcity is driving the prices of commodities up, it is economics. And agriculture.
There is shrinking in land areas dedicated for agriculture, according to the recent Census for Agriculture and Fisheries (CAF) shared by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) during the Provincial data Dissemination on the Results of the 2022 Annual Survey of Philippine Business and Industry and the 2020 Census of Population and Housing and Other indicators, PSA Bohol Statistician led her team in simplifying the census data to stakeholders gathered at Reyna’s Garden.
Data from the PSA CAF showed that from 52,572 hectares of lands planted to permanent crops in 1991, a decade later, the figure has shrunk to 26,233, a 40% decline in size of production capable lands now unfarmed, has ultimately affected food supply.
In the lands planted to temporary crops, in 1991, Bohol records 107,262 hectares, which reduced to 79,282 by 2002 and then shrunk further to 42,669 hectares, PSA data showed.
In fact, the same CAF survey also revealed that, while lands under permanent meadows and pastures in 1991 reached 1,063 hectares, it shrunk to 528 in 2002, which should have been a good indication that people were then into opening up new farms from pasturelands and meadows.
However on 2021, lands which were converted to pasture grounds to feed cattle and livestock as well as meadows grew to 3,695 hectares. Some 300 plus percent increase in the 1991 size of less productive usage.
Of the province’s top agricultural crops in the survey, palay showed an encouraging data.
In 2019, from 57,400 hectares harvested that year, the figure increased to 65,009 hectares in 2020 and then to 67,907 hectares in 2021.
Production of the same crop increased by 28% from its 153,405 metric tons in 2019 to 210,582 in 2021. Statistical analysts from the PSA also noted a 19% increase in palay production from 153,405 to 188,833 metric tons.
For corn, the area harvested in hectares reached 11,733 hectares in 2019, after a year, the land planted to corn reduced by 5% to 11,260 hectares, which further shrunk to 10,256 hectares or nearly 1 %.
As to production, while there is a noted decrease in land area planted to corn, harvest in metric tons slowly grew from 11,110 in 2019, to 11,582 in 2020 and 12,660 metric tons on 2021, data showed.
In Bohol however, where corn in not traditionally consumed by humans, an increase in production hardly impacts on the human food supply.
As to livestock, chicken registers the biggest slump in production supply from 2019 to 2021.
In 2019, Bohol had 4,207,970 heads produced, which slightly increased during the peak of the pandemic by 1% or 4,228,731. And then by 2021, the production sagged 10% lower at 3,830,427, further depriving markets of chicken meat, while the consumers tried evading pork with the African Swine Fever affecting market prices.
Cattle production also showed 77,626 heads in 2019, which reduced to 74,096 heads in 2020 and then sulked further in 2021 with 74,582.
Here, the noted decrease of 1.02% in cattle heads also reflected in the unavailability of beef in the markets.
As to fisheries, anchovy production in 2019 reached 1,043.97 metric tons, which dove to 815.96 metric tons and even sunk deeper to 763.99 in 2021.
Big-eyed scad production however, enjoyed a slight increase from 1,088.52 in 2019 to 1,300.23 in 2021, according to the CAF.
Bangus production in 2019 reached 2,091.39, slid off to 2,074.69 in 2020 and bounced back in 2021 with 2,412.73 metric tons. (RAHC/PIA-7/Bohol)