TAGBILARAN CITY – The agriculture industry in the province showed slow growth but the construction sector is booming. Officials were quick to put the blame on past typhoons last year and 2013 earthquake as the culprit of the slow growth of agriculture sector in the province and practically the entire of Central Visayas, which had not been spared from natural calamities. The construction industry in Bohol is growing at fast pace following the injection of funds, particularly the Bohol Earthquake Assistance (BEA) funds in the amount of Php2.3 billion courtesy of the national government given on June of last year. It is aimed at rebuilding public edifices such as barangay halls, health, day care centers.
This aside from bottom-up-budgeting (BUB) funds that run in millions and the rehabilitation of more than 8,000 houses of quake victims to the tune of more than Php700 million and the reconstruction of roads and bridges and other physical infrastructure ruined by the quake and typhoons.
National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) region 7 reported that “Bohol registered the most number of new residential projects with 4,283 or an increase of 73% from 2013.”
The report said, “Data from the National Statistics Office said new construction projects — both residential and non-residential — in CV in 2014 grew 27% to 12,386, amounting to about P22.6 billion. That value is 43% higher than in 2013.”
Reports said that supply of sand and gravel had been inadequate to fill in the gap due to massive reconstruction of residential buildings alone.
Shortage of these materials could be a cause of concern among the planners and contractors and officials when the Php7 billion New Bohol Airport in Panglao island begins its civil works next month.
On agriculture and fishery, aside from rice farms, harvests from vast sea of seaweeds took a nose-dive that cost millions. In Bien-Unido, the seaweed capital of the region, its production decreased following its affectation when the super-typhoon “Yolanda” swept the plantation.
In Pres. Carlos P. Garcia, an island municipality, reported that its seaweed plantation were damaged that worth millions of pesos.
Rice production of Bohol had dropped to some 255,053 mertic tons in 2014 from 256,405 MT in 2013, report quoted Bureau of Agriculture Statistics (BAS) said.
It did not say whether the supply for Central Visayas would be adversely affected since Bohol produces the bulk of the production, being the rice bowl of the region.
“The region’s farm output last year fell sharply by 3.02%, down from 6.74% growth in 2013. Production growth of agriculture’s sub-sectors all plunged, except for livestock which slightly grew by 0.15% last year from a growth of 0.08% in 2013,” NEDA said in a report.
And “Fisheries posted a double-digit drop of 14% in 2014. Production of crops and poultry dropped by 2.6% and 1.03%, respectively,” it said.
Probably the drop of yield in fishery contributes to high prices of fish in the market, NEDA said. According to NEDA, agriculture contributes about 8% to the regional economy. While industry and services account 36% and 56%, respectively.
NEDA Director Efren Carreon was quoted as saying that on account that many poor people are working in agriculture sector, agriculture contribution to the economy is “very critical.” He said that if the situation continues, “poverty will also rise.” (rvo)