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NEWS UPDATES 22 July 2009

Farm, fisheries offer most jobs in Philippines

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The farm and fisheries sector created additional 412,000 jobs this year, making it the No. 1 job generator for the first quarter of 2009, the Manila Times reported, quoting Presidential Economic Adviser and Gov. Joey Salceda of Albay.

Salceda on Tuesday said that based on data of the Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics, employment in the farm and fisheries sector as of April 2009 was estimated at 12.318 million, which is higher by 3.47 percent compared to 11.905 million for the same period last year.

“Philippine agriculture created more jobs than the trade sector, which only ranked second with 345,000 jobs,” he added. “This proves that the Arroyo government’s decision to reverse 30 years of official neglect of the agriculture sector through sustained, higher public investments is now reaping positive results.”

Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap said that the increased spending for agriculture “has proved to be timely and effective.”

Yap added that focusing on irrigation and other rural infrastructure has already yielded positive results with palay or unhusked rice production expanding by 5.1 percent or double its average growth a year ago.

He said that rehabilitation and restoration work of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) has allowed farmers to plant an additional 69,000 hectares of farmland or 5.7 percent more than last year.

“Such gains were the result of President Gloria Arroyo’s increased spending on agriculture, 25.36 billion peso in 2007, 35.39 billion peso in 2008 and 46.86 billion peso this year,” Yap added.

“Without the agriculture growth contribution, GDP [gross domestic product] would have been sub-zero. Despite the obvious odds, its 2.1-percent increase in gross value added may not be stellar but it was the highest among the sectors which best proves the logic of government budgetary stimulus, specifically to the Department of Agriculture,’’ he said.


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