Agriculture In Philippines -Farming, Major Crops


Agriculture In Philippines

Agriculture in Philippines, Farming, Cultivation

Hello friends, we are here today with a new topic called” Agriculture In Philippines”. Agriculture plays an important role in the Philippines. The Philippines is a part of Southeast Asia, and surrounded on the northwest by the South China Sea, on the east by the Pacific Ocean, and on the south by the Celebes Sea. Its strategic location makes it a meeting ground of varied cultures as well as a distribution center of goods within the area.

The Philippines is primarily an agriculture-dependent country; about one-third of the land area of 30 million hectares (ha) is categorized as agricultural lands. Agriculture has contributed about 20% to the country’s GDP (gross domestic product), 24% to total export earnings, and 46% to total employment in the last 15 years. According to the Department of Agriculture, the use of quality seeds, favorable weather conditions, rehabilitation of irrigation facilities, improved fertilization, a reduction in pests and diseases, increases in area harvested.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Agriculture In Philippines and Farming Practices

Sorghum field
Sorghum field (image credit: pixabay)

Importance of Agricultural Technology in the Philippines

The importance of agricultural technology includes;

  • Higher crop productivity
  • Decreased  use of water, fertilizer, and pesticides
  • Reduced impact on natural ecosystems
  • Increased worker safety

The agricultural sector employs about 30% of the population but contributes only 12% of GDP. Coconut, Rice, Maize, and Sugarcane are the top four crops cultivated in the Philippines.

Agriculture including forestry and fishery plays an important role in the Philippine economy. The country’s population is predominantly rural about 70% of the total and two-thirds of this population depends on farming for their livelihood. Though, in terms of employment, about one-half of the labor force is engaged in agricultural activities.

The Philippines’ key agricultural policy objectives focus on food security and also poverty alleviation. While contributing to the undernourishment of poor households that are heavy rice consumers and efficiently taxed by higher prices. The main roles of agriculturists are to prepare technical plans, specifications, and estimates of agriculture projects like in the construction and management of farms and agribusiness enterprises. The agriculture practice also includes the following;

  • Consultation, investigation, and management of agriculture projects
  • Research and studies in soil analysis and conservation, crop production, livestock and poultry breeding, tree planting, and other bio-techniques
  • Conduct training on soil analysis and conservation, crop production, livestock and poultry breeding, tree planting
  • Management of organizations, both in private and government for example Office of the Provincial Agriculturist

Major Agricultural Products in the Philippines

The country’s agriculture sector is made up of 4 sub-sectors like farming, fisheries, livestock, and forestry (the latter 2 sectors are very small), which together employ 39.8% of the labor force and contribute 20% of GDP. The main crops in the Philippines are Rice, Corn, Coconut, Sugarcane, Bananas, Pineapple, Coffee, Mangoes, and Tobacco. Secondary crops in the Philippines include Peanut, Cassava, Garlic, Onion, Cabbage, Eggplant, Rubber, and Cotton.

The major Philippines agricultural products are Sugarcane, Coconuts, Rice, Corn, Bananas, Pineapples, and Mangoes. Top agricultural exports are refined Coconut Oil, Coconut Water, Fresh Bananas, Mangoes, and Pineapples. Though, the United States and Japan are among the top destinations for the countries agricultural export.

The Philippines is one of the largest exporters of coconut oil and sugar but this comparative benefit has declined over the years due to the development of substitutes and the increase in the number of exporter countries. The major crops cultivated in the Philippines are Rice, Corn, Coconut, Sugarcane, Banana, Cassava, Pineapple, and vegetables. The major livestock products in the Philippines are hog, cattle, goat, and dairy products. Chicken and duck are the leading poultry products. Among the leading species are tuna and tuna-like varieties, round scad, sardines, anchovy, and slip mouth.

Statistical Information about the Philippines

GDP composition by sector – agriculture: 12.3%; industry: 33.3%; services: 54.4%

Land use – arable land about 19%; permanent crops – 61.67%; other – 64.33%

Land under farming – coconut (3.3 million ha), maize (1.4 million ha), rice (2.5 million ha), and sugarcane (0.4 million ha)

Agriculture products – Rice, Fish, Livestock, Poultry, Sugarcane, Coconuts, Rice, Corn, Banana, Cassava, Pineapple, Mango; Pork, Eggs, Beef; Fish, Bananas, and Mangoes.

Natural resources – Timber, petroleum, silver, nickel, cobalt, gold, salt, and copper

Export partners are China, the US, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, Germany, and South Korea

Climate Conditions for Agriculture in Philippines

The Philippines has a tropical and maritime climate condition characterized by relatively high temperature, high humidity, and abundant rainfall. It has mainly two marked seasons, dry and wet.

The mean temperature level is between 25-27°C and rain is heaviest on the western shores facing the Pacific Ocean. The country has mainly 2 marked seasons, dry and wet on the western shores facing the South China Sea. In these, the dry season begins in December and ends in May, with the wet season covering the rest of the year. Monthly average rainfall ranges from as low as 120 cm to as high as about 270 cm.

  • Develop agricultural sector’s capacity to adapt to climate change
  • Make climate-adaptation policy objectives consistent across programs and institutions
  • Develop clear guidance on climate-adaptation “tagging”
  • Provide reliable climate information to farmers
  • Encourage more efficient use of water

Major Soil Types for Agriculture in Philippines

Soil is a natural resource and with a variety of topsoil options obtainable, it can be difficult to understand which soil to use for varied projects. High-level natural topsoil will prove necessary to any gardening, so it’s important to understand its composition and uses. As an archipelago of more than 7,100 islands, the Philippines are blessed with a natural diversity of soil resources.

Soil resources – The total land area of the Philippines is only 30 million hectares (ha.), 8.2 million hectares of which are arable and permanent croplands. About 25.1% of the total area is constraint-free while the remaining 74.9% consists of areas with various kinds of problem soils.More disturbing statistics mainly include the current estimates of soil loss in the Philippine uplands. Land use statistics in the fragile Philippine uplands shows the dominance of rice and corn over another type of crops. Estimated total soil loss for several land uses and slopes reveal that corn production in the uplands can be contributing about 90% of the total soil loss.

Philippines Major Soil Types – Based on an interpretation of the Soil Map of the Philippines the country’s soils can be categorized into 6 soil orders, namely Ultisols, Alfisols, Inceptisols, Vertisols, Entisols, and Oxisols.

Status of the Agricultural Resources in the Philippines

The Philippines is an important agricultural country. Both its plant and animal resources are main contributors to the country’s Gross National Product. The main farm products are rice, maize, coconut, and sugar. Usually, Rice is the major staple food of the country’s human population. A significant volume of maize is also formed, though 60% of the total production is used for livestock feeds. Some fruits such as Banana, Pineapple, and Mango are produced for export. Its vegetables and root crops are produced for domestic consumption. Other products like timber, veneer and cut flowers are also produced.

Populations of domesticated pigs, chickens, cattle, carabaos, goats, and ducks mainly represent the animal production sector of Philippine agriculture. Sheep, quails, and horses are also gaining popularity. Except for carabaos that also provide a significant amount of draft power in addition to its meat and milk, primary products of the farm animal species are for food like meat, milk, and eggs. The vast waters within and around the country make fishing very important to both the Filipino diet and industry. Though, salt, fresh and brackish water produce is vital to the economy of many regions.

Physical Environment – Usually, the Philippines is an archipelago with a total land area of approximately 30 million hectares. While it encompasses more than 7,100 islands, the majority of these are insignificant in terms of size and population. The 15 largest islands make up 94% of the total land area. Luzon and Mindanao occupy about 35 and 32% of the total land area, respectively. The island nature of the country gives it a long coastline relative to its size. No inland area is far from the ocean.

The country has a complex geology and physiography. Steep upland areas with greater than 18% slope make up about 55% of the total area. The climate is humid tropical. With the occurrence of typhoons in the northern half of the country and the effects of 2 separate monsoon seasons, there is striking micro-and macro variation in the seasonal distribution. The total quantity of precipitation is abundant 90% of the country receives at least 1,780 mm per year. Given the complex geology and geologic history, the soils of the Philippines are varied but are not as weathered as most humid tropical soils because of their younger age.

Environmental Impact Assessment of Agriculture in the Philippines

The main concerns of the Philippine agricultural sector revolve around for;

(a) Increased production to sustain the food needs for a growing population,

(b) Employ generation to meet the 10-point agenda of the government, and

(c) Greater global competitiveness.

However, along the path to achieving these goals, the country must also contend with the threat to the sustainability of the croplands and fishery resources. For example, agricultural intensification, as practiced especially in corporate, large-scale farms, has solved certain problems of low production but, at the same time, it has also created environmental and social problems.

Crop Based Farming Systems in the Philippines

Generally, several crop-based farming systems can be found in the Philippines. Among these are systems mainly based on Rice, Maize, Coconut, and Sugarcane.

For rice, generally, the cropping sequence is rice-rice in irrigated regions. In recent years, fish or duck has been raised with rice, as well as legumes like mung bean, peanut, and soybean (Glycine max) after two rice cropping. On the other hand, in rain-fed lowland regions, garlic, onion, and tomato are grown after rice using zero or minimum tillage. In coconut areas, particularly in flatlands, the soil is cultivated and grown to various crops, depending on the age of the coconut and distance of planting. Some of these major crops are Rice, Corn, Sweet Potato, Pineapple, Banana, Rambutan, Papaya, Peanut, Mung Bean, Abaca, Taro, Arrowroot, Daisy, Sorghum, Coffee, Cacao, Black Pepper, and many others. In large coconut regions, cattle and small ruminants are also raised but they need the growth of appropriate pasture grass and legumes.

Upland areas constitute about 60% of the Philippines’ land area and are predominantly sloping. Since upland areas are also home to resource-poor farmers and their families, the sloping agricultural land technology (SALT) enables them to strip-crop annual crops and grows perennial crops for domestic consumption.

In sugarcane areas, legumes like mung bean and cowpea intercropped during the first three months provide an opportunity for harvesting one crop in addition to sugarcane. Farmers in some areas also raise livestock. Though, planters would resort to monoculture whenever the price of sugar goes up. The Philippines’ major agricultural products are Sugarcane, Rice, Coconuts, Corn, Bananas, Pineapples, and Mangoes.

Exotic Fruits and Vegetables in the Philippines

The most common fruits in the Philippines are Mangoes, Pineapples, and Bananas and some vegetable crops are Green Beans, Morning Glory, Carrots, and Cucumbers among many others. But there exists a whole list of exotic and indigenous produce that you must try and that is much more adapted to the local climate conditions as well as tastier than many of the other European fruits.

Some important vegetables are;

Gabi – It is also called Taro. Gabi resembles a sweet potato that would have purplish skin and white flesh. It has a nutty flavor once cooked. It is one of the major root crops in the Philippines. Also, it is an alternative to meat by some vegetarians. It can be cooked either sweet or savory, commonly boiled then mashed to be used in baking. It is also a popular flavoring, especially for milk teas and cakes.

Moringa – Moringa is a thick, long, and rough green bean. It is a popular herb and the most nutritious of them all is commonly found here in the Philippines. It is used in home-cooked meals such as stews and soups.

Cassava – It is also called Manioc in Africa is a starchy root vegetable that can be dried and made into porridge or cooked grated or as is into savory side dishes and desserts.

In case if you miss this: High Density Pineapple Planting.

Cassava Field
Casava Field ( pic source: pixabay)

Water Spinach – It is a type of water spinach/morning glory. This is the most common local spinach and is added to many local dishes. It is a tropical plant that grows where there is a lot of water.

Calamansi – It is a popular condiment or dipping sauce here in the Philippines, calamansi is one of the most used fruits. These round-like lemons are sour and native to the Philippines.

Upo or Bottle Gourd – It is an elongated plant with white flesh and thick green skin, Bottle Gourd is used in dishes with soups or can be simply stir-fried.

Bitter Melon – Bitter Melon is one of the healthiest vegetables in the world. Bitter Melon works wonders for being who have diabetes.

Sweet Potatoes – These are similar to yams and it comes in purple and yellow color. Normally it is used both in savory and sweet dishes; sweet potatoes have a distinct sweetness that is most commonly used in desserts.

Pechay or Chinese cabbage – This is a leafy green vegetable that is widely used in Asian dishes. It has smooth and dark green leaf blades forming a bunch of leaves.  Best cooked when stir-fried, steamed, boiled, or stuffed.

Mustasa or Crispy Mustard – It is also known as leaf mustard, Mustasa is also one of the most nutritious vegetables there is. It is mostly used in salads and soups; Mustasa is the source of the condiment mustard. It is an excellent source of calcium, phosphorus, iron, and vitamin B.

Singkamas or Jicama – It is delicious, a sweet-tasting root vegetable that is popular as a summer snack in the Philippines.

Malabar Spinach – A different type of spinach, Malabar Spinach has purple stems and green leaves. It is mostly used in soups, salads, and stews. It is a good source of some essential nutrients like iron.

Some seasonal fruits in the Philippines are;

Atis (custard apple) – Atis is also called custard apples. This is available from September to December.

Banana – the Philippines is one of the top producers of bananas.

Chico (naseberry) – Chico is also known as an energy fruit because of its high sugar levels. It has a sweet flavor that has an edible coat. It’ is also called an energy fruit because it has high levels of sugar. The fruit is available every January and February.

Durian – These are notorious for their extremely strong smell but it’s also considered the “King of Fruits.” These are notorious for being smelly because of the mixture of several chemicals found in the fruit. Durians are in season from August to October.

Guyabano – Guyabanos are used to produce juice and sweets, among others. It is a sweet pulp that is used to make juice, candies, and ice cream flavorings. They are available from August to November.

Langka (jackfruit) – Jackfruit is usually mixed in banana cue recipes. They are in season from March to May.

Mango – It is the national fruit of the Philippines and it is in season from March to June.

Watermelon – Watermelon is also known as dessert fruits. They are in season from March to July.

Papaya – Papaya was purportedly called the “Fruit of the Angels” and it is in season throughout the year.

Pineapple – The Philippines is one of the largest producers of Pineapple. Pineapple fruits are exported to other countries as well. Pineapples are in season from May to July.

Sapodilla – Sapodilla is a small beige-brown fruit inside and outside has a sweet caramel tasting flesh with large brown seeds

Durian – It is a large prickly fruit with soft fleshy seeds. Durian exudes a very strong smell once opened that some characterize as repugnant.

Crop Improvement Programmes and Food Security in the Philippines

The crop improvement program in the Philippines is a well-established formal-sector program utilizing advanced methodologies. The below crops have benefited from improvement programs;

  • Cereals – Rice, Maize, Sorghum
  • Food legumes – Mung Bean, Peanut, Cowpea, Soybean
  • Vegetables – Tomato, Eggplant, Lima Bean, Bottle Gourd, Sweet Pepper, Hot Pepper
  • Root crops: Cassava, Sweet potato, Taro
  • Fiber crops: Cotton, Manila Hemp
  • Tobacco
  • Sugarcane
  • Plantation crops – Coconut, Cacao, Coffee
  • Fruit trees
  • Ornamentals

You may also check this: Dragon Fruit Cultivation.

Rice Crop
Rice Crop (Image source: pixabay)

Crop Improvement programs in the Philippines

The products of crop improvement programs or methods had boosted agricultural yields, especially for the staples. The volume of production in rice and maize is contributed by modern varieties. Some modern varieties of staple crops are planted in more than 95% of the total area. Modern cultivars of Sweet Potato, Cassava, Coconut, Mung Bean, Peanut, Eggplant, Tomato, Sweet Pepper, and Sugarcane account for a significant proportion of varieties grown for food. The majority of the farms are all small farms averaging about 2 hectares. Rice, Corn, and Coconut are principally produced by small farms.

Irrigation Management of Agriculture in the Philippines

Irrigation is a very important component of agriculture in the Philippines. Irrigation has been the main factor for increasing agriculture productivity in the Philippines. Also, it increases yields indirectly by raising the profitability of crop varieties and fertilizer use. The best options for irrigation development have been developed earlier, and later public investments have been marginal projects with a higher cost of construction. An understanding of the importance of “water management” requires information that can be best provided by a multidisciplinary approach with the engineering, agronomic, economic, and sociological fields playing major roles.

Agricultural Policies in the Philippines

The government of the Philippines issues the provisions related to agriculture production as follows below;

1) All farming and fishing activities shall continue;

2) All farmers, farmworkers, and agribusiness personnel shall be exempted and provided that they observe safety protocols and the number is at a minimum;

3) All agricultural supply stores, outlets nationwide, and animal clinics should be allowed to operate under a skeletal force;

4) Essential farm personnel including farmhands and farm and fisher folks that work at production areas are requested passage at checkpoints.

Importance of Fisheries in the Philippines

Fisheries are an important sector in the Philippine economy. The fisheries industry accounted for 15 and 18.6% of the Gross Value Added (GVA) in the agriculture, fishery, and forestry sectors at current and constant prices, respectively, with the second-largest share next only to crops.

The fisheries sector provides direct and indirect employment to over 1 million people, or about 5% of the national labor force, of whom 65% are in municipal fisheries, 26% in aquaculture, and 6% in commercial fisheries.

By the open-access policy in fisheries resources use, the rapid increase in population size of the poverty-stricken fishing communities, and the inability of the government to provide for an environment that can support the fishery industry’s growth.

Livestock Production in the Philippines

Livestock production contributed 12.7% to total agricultural output. The livestock raised in the Philippines is including broiler chickens, cattle, ducks, goats, and swine.

Poultry and Livestock are the important subsectors in the Philippines’ agricultural sector. Populations of domesticated pigs, chickens, cattle, carabaos, goats, and ducks mainly represent the animal production sector of Philippine agriculture.

In lowland irrigated and rain-fed farming systems, households raise a brood of chickens, ducks and or geese, and one or two pigs. On the other hand, cow and carabao (water buffalo) are among the other animals households keep. Dairy sector involved mainly in sanitizing milk equipment and facilities; cleaning cattle barns, grazing areas, and surroundings; and conversion of raw milk into milk products.

Government Priorities for Agriculture in the Philippines

In the latest national Development Plan, the Government states that improving agriculture productivity and efficiency is critical to maintaining the affordability of food and reducing poverty.

The Philippines Government is working to improve rural infrastructure including roads, post-harvest facilities, and markets, strengthen extension systems, improve access to credit, increase investment, and encourage investment from the private sector. The Philippines Government is promoting some practices like integrated water resource management, sustainable land management, and strengthening crop and fisheries insurance schemes, to increase resilience to climate change. The money will be spent on constructing irrigation systems, to boosting the budgets of national programs designed to boost the production of rice, maize, vegetables, fisheries, and livestock.

Agricultural Products Exports in the Philippines

The Philippines government exports its agricultural products around the world for example the United States, Japan, Europe, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations countries. The major export products are coconut products, fruits and vegetables, bananas, and prawns. Other important exports are the Cavendish banana, Cayenne pineapple, and seaweed. Imported agricultural products like unmilled wheat and meslin, oilcake and soybean residues, urea, flour, meals and pellets of fish, and soybeans. Environmental damage is another major concern. Coral reef destruction, pollution of coastal and marine resources, mangrove forest destruction, and siltation are important problems.

Environmental Issues in the Philippines

Deforestation – Some agricultural practices, including export crops and encroachment by small farmers, lead to deforestation.

Climate change – Increases in extreme weather conditions events will have devastating effects on agriculture. Rice, wheat, and corn crops are expected to see a 10% decrease in yield for every 1°C increase over 30°C average annual temperature levels. High winds contribute to the destruction of crops, reduced soil fertility, altered agricultural productivity through severe flooding and soil erosion. Though, droughts and reduced rainfall lead to increased pest infestations that damage crops as well as an increased need for irrigation. Though, rising sea levels increase salinity which leads to a loss of arable land and irrigation water. These all factors contribute to higher prices of food and increased demand for imports, which hurts the general economy as well as individual livelihoods.

Challenges Faced By Philippine Agriculture

The Philippines is an agricultural country needs to invest in promoting inclusive development, and build more sustainable agriculture systems, and respond to climate change impact. The main goal is to develop the agriculture sector in the Philippines can attain food self-sufficiency and increase the farmer’s income.

The Philippines must specifically pursue the goals to end/minimize hunger, achieve food security, improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture. The challenges identified were lack of important provisions that will guarantee food security and then reduce poverty in the countryside, lack of programs that will link agriculture with the industry and post-harvest, and some technologies to the stakeholders, among others.



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