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Top 10 Agricultural Crops in the Philippines

The Philippines is both an agricultural and industrial country and rice is the most important  Filipino staple food.

Every year, the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the National Food Authority (NFA) are closely monitoring the rice production and supply in the country in order to meet the volume of demand needed by the Filipino people.

Despite the country’s high palay production, the government is still importing rice from other Asian countries like Vietnam and Thailand, in order to maintain the needed yearly rice quantity.

Aside from palay, the following are the top ten crops and agricultural products in the Philippines is known for.

1. Sugarcane

With an average of 23 million metric tons of sugarcane production every year, the Philippines is the ninth biggest sugar producer in the world, with Negros Island in the Western Visayas region being the country’s top producer. Despite this, the country is still importing sugar due to several international economic agreements, prompting local sugar prices to increase.

A truckload of sugarcane in Bacolod City. Image credit

2. Palay

Palay (rice)  is the second top agricultural product of the Philippines in terms of volume.  The latest data provided by the Philippine Statistics Office says the country produced 17.6 metric tons of palay in 2016. Central Luzon, Bicol Region, Central Visayas, and Panay and Mindoro Islands are the country’s top rice-producing regions and provinces.

3. Coconut

Coconut considered “the tree of life” is the third top agricultural product in the Philippines. With a yearly average of 14 metric tons, coconut is one of the most productive crops in the country. Calabarzon, the Bicol Region, and some parts of Mindanao are the country’s top coconut producers. Coconut-related products are among the Philippines’ most important exports.

4. Banana

The Philippines produce an average of 9 million metric tons a year from Mindanao and Mindoro Islands. Banana products from Mindanao, especially from Davao, are among the country’s biggest imports. Philippines’ banana products are known worldwide.

5. Corn

The Philippines produce an average of 7.5 million metric tons of corn every year and much of this is used in animal feed production. In Cebuano-speaking regions like Cebu, Negros Oriental, and other parts of Mindanao, corn is preferred as staple food instead of rice.

6. Casava

Cassava is another important crop in the Philippines and its uses are not only limited to food. Cassava is also used in some industrial applications like glue and other related products. Mindanao region is the biggest cassava producer, accounting for more than 75% of the country’s 2.7 million metric tons of yearly cassava production.

6. Pineapple

Pineapple in the Philippines is an important product and is consumed both locally and abroad. Del Monte and Dole food companies have  pineapple farms in Mindanao, especially in Davao, Surigao, and Bukidnon. The country is producing an average of 2.6  metric tons of pineapple during the early season.

7. Mango

Mango from Guimaras Island is considered the best in the world. Davao is also a big producer and exporter of this Philippine-native product. The country is producing an average of 814,000 metric tons of mango every year.

8. Camote

Camote or sweet potato is also a very important crop in the Philippines. Sweet potato is considered a primary “merienda” by urban people in the country, especially in the Western Visayas region, as a substitute for saba banana and sweet corn. The country is producing an average of 530,000 metric tons of sweet potato every year mostly from Central Luzon

9. Rubber

Rubber is one of the most important exports and the only non-food agricultural product on this list. Rubber trees are mostly grown in Socsargen and Zamboanga Peninsula.

10. Lanzones

Lanzones are abundant in the Philippines especially in Batangas, Negros Occidental, and Mindanao Island. Camiguin Island is very popular when speaking about this fruit as the province is celebrating Lanzones Festival each year.

Other important crops that failed to enter the top but are also important are cacao, abaca, coffee, peanut, mongo (soybeans), garlic, onions, pili nut, and tobacco.

Frequently Asked Questions Related to Philippine Agriculture

Why is the Philippines an agricultural country?

The Philippines is an agricultural country with a land area of 30 million hectares, 47% of which is agricultural land. We have rich land, natural resources, hardworking farmers, and agri-research institutions.

How much of the Philippines’ land area is used for agriculture?

In terms of agriculture, the Philippines has a total agricultural area of 9.67 million hectares or about 30 percent of the total land area of the country cultivated by almost 5 million farmers.

Why the Philippines is poor in agriculture?

This is partly due to the lack of access to productive capital, knowledge, and technology, and to limited market access. Rural poor people also have few options for generating off-farm income and lack access to affordable financial services.

What is the current status of agriculture in the Philippines?

Agricultural Value of Production Declined by -1.5 percent in the Second Quarter of 2021. In the second quarter of 2021, the value of agricultural production at constant 2018 prices decreased by -1.5 percent. This was attributed to the decline in livestock and fisheries production.

What is the main problem of farmers in the Philippines?

Limited diversification and low productivity are two of the most important challenges which constrain agricultural transformation in the country.

What crops are native to the Philippines?

There are seven well-known crops indigenous to the Philippines

  • Lagikway (Abelmoschus manihot)
  • Pako (Diplazium esculentum)
  • Kapas-kapas (Telosmaprocumbens [Blanco] Merr.)
  • Himbabao (Broussonetia luzonica)
  • Sugod-sugod (Momordicacochinchinensis [Lour.] Spreng)
  • Gabi (Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott)
  • Batuan (Garcinia binucao)

What is the most produced vegetable in the Philippines?

Among the country’s top fruits, vegetables, and root crops are mongo, peanut, cabbage, eggplant, tomato, sweet potato, and cassava. In its latest quarterly bulletin, PSA said cassava production grew 0.6 percent to 773,150 metric tons (MT) due to higher demand and good prices.

Why Filipino farmers are still poor?

The majority of farmers are poor with low education, vulnerable to physical and economic risks, and financially stressed with zero savings or worse, indebtedness. As agriculture is in itself a risky financial and social enterprise, the pressure for the farming families to stay afloat is saddling.

Why do Filipino farmers suffer?

Due to the removal of state controls on agriculture-related commodities, the prices of agricultural inputs, such as seeds, fertilizers, etc. also increase drastically. Inadequate investment in infrastructure likewise adds to the problems.

What vegetables are in high demand in the Philippines?

From Manila, crops are shipped across the archipelago, meeting 80 percent of the country’s demand for semi-temperate vegetables like potato, cabbage, radish, chayote, carrot, lettuce, and broccoli.

What are the high-value crops?

High-value crops are crops that provide higher net returns per hectare to the farmer than high-yielding winter rice. These may include hybrid maize, potatoes, vegetables, spices, and fruits.

Can the Philippines live on agriculture alone?

The Philippines is still primarily an agricultural country despite the plan to make it an industrialized economy by 2000. Most citizens still live in rural areas and support themselves through agriculture.

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