Agricultural trade recovers in 2021

TRADE in agricultural commodities rebounded last year, rising 19.8% after contracting 7.1% in 2020, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported on Monday.

Total agricultural trade stood at $22.49 billion in 2021 thanks to export and import gains. It was $18.8 billion a year earlier, down from $20.2 billion in 2019 following the Covid-19 pandemic.

Agricultural exports reached $6.79 billion, up 9.4 percent year on year, while imports jumped 24.9 percent to $15.71 billion.

The agricultural trade deficit then widened to $8.92 billion, up 39.9%, after contractions of 7.0 and 2.1% in 2020 and 2019, respectively.

As a share of the Philippines’ total exports and imports in 2021, agricultural products accounted for 9.1% and 13.3% respectively.

By commodity, edible fruits and nuts and the peel of citrus melons accounted for the largest share of Philippine agricultural exports. At $1.93 billion, it accounted for 28.5% of the total.

Cereals, meanwhile, were the largest agricultural import at $3.15 billion or 20% of the total.

By market, Malaysia was ASEAN’s top destination for Philippine agricultural exports, accounting for $247.95 million. In the European Union, the biggest buyer was the Netherlands with $698.11 million.

For imports, the Philippines purchased $1.65 billion worth of agricultural products from Indonesia, which was the largest supplier among ASEAN countries. Spain was the EU’s top supplier with $333.5 million.