Agriculture, Fishery and Forestry Upland Palay Farming


The Philippines has about 9.97 million hectares of agricultural land. An estimated 4.01 million hectares of these lands or about 40 percent are planted to palay. Of the total palay areas, almost half are situated in lowland areas while the other half are in upland areas (NSO, 1991). Lowland palay areas are mostly flat and plain and irrigated while upland palay areas are on rolling and hilly terrain and are usually rainfed or non-irrigated. The latter is the subject of this study.
Palay industry continues to play an important role in the Philippine economy. It serves as the main source of the country's staple food, rice. It also employs a significant proportion of the country's rural population, either as farm operator or as wage earners. In terms of its contribution to the GVA in 1995, the palay industry accounted for more than 16 percent of the total output of the agriculture sector and almost 4 percent of the country's GDP (NSCB, 1996).
Due to the importance of the industry, the government's efforts of continued expansion of palay farms and intensive cultivation by increased cropping intensity and intercropping practices have been pursued vigorously. The use of modern inputs in production, adoption of high yielding varieties and the availability of irrigation water, were some of the measures adopted to increase palay production.
In the past, growth of palay industry was primarily the result of continued expansion of land planted to palay. Other factors like changes in cropping intensity, technology and productivity have only minimally contributed to the increase in palay production during the period. In the early eighties, however, a shift to increasing land productivity at a very high margin has started (PCSD, 1990). For the period 1988 to 1994, palay production grew at an average of 2.6 percent annually from 5.4 million MT in 1988 to 6.4 million MT in 1994. Palay productivity likewise improved marginally from 2.26 MT in 1988 to 2.37 MT in 1994.
The growing demand for higher production because of growing population has threatened the sustainability of the country’s natural resources and the viability of the state of the environment. Intensive farm cultivation practices and excessive application of chemical fertilizers and pesticides are some of the factors found to contribute to the degradation of the environmental media (Francisco, 1996). Moreover, other production processes although at a minimal rate, also affect the environment.

Source InstitutionNational Statistical Coordination Board
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Page Count59
Place of PublicationQuezon City
Original Publication Date