Agricultural trade falls 6.8% by value in fourth quarter

Banana exporters ask gov't to improve access to key markets

AGRICULTURAL trade fell 6.8% year on year to $4.66 billion in the fourth quarter, reflecting a decline in both exports and imports, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said.

The PSA said agricultural exports fell 10.4% to $1.47 billion in the three months to December. The category accounted for an 8.2% share of the country’s exports during the quarter.

Edible fruits and nuts and peel of citrus fruits and melons accounted for $485.64 million or 33.1% of total agricultural exports.

Exports of animal or vegetable fats and oils and their cleavage products were worth $231.25 million; preparations of vegetables, fruit, nuts or other parts of plants $197.32 million; and tobacco and manufactured tobacco substitutes $123.78 million.

Agricultural imports during the fourth quarter declined 5% year on year to $3.19 billion, accounting for 13.5% of all imports.

Cereals were the top imported commodity at $523.22 million, followed by residues and waste from food industries and prepared animal fodder at $401.57 million, and miscellaneous edible preparations $393.47 million.

Within ASEAN, Malaysia was the leading destination of Philippine agricultural exports accounting for 40.9% of the total or $71.60 million, while Indonesia was the top source of agricultural imports with 31.9% or $315.51 million.

The PSA said the top agricultural products exported to other ASEAN countries were tobacco and manufactured tobacco substitutes valued at $61.73 million; animal or vegetable fats and oil and their cleavage products, prepared edible fats, and animal or vegetable waxes, $40.31 million; and edible fruit and nut and peel of citrus fruit melons, $11.70 million.

Miscellaneous edible preparations were the top agricultural commodity imported from ASEAN countries, valued at $273.63 million; followed by animal or vegetable fats and oil and their cleavage products, prepared edible fats, and animal or vegetable waxes, $239.03 million; and cereals, $132.44 million.

According to the PSA, the Netherlands was the top buyer of Philippine exports and supplier of agricultural products in the European Union, tallying $90.57 million and $70.92 million. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave