2002 Scenario of the Agriculture Sector in the Philippines

Reference Number: 144
Release Date: 15 March 2005

Number of Farms Increased in 2002 by 4.6 Percent

Agriculture is as equally important as the other economic sectors of the country. Agricultural activities play an important role in economic sustainability and development of the country. The agriculture and fishery sector contributed 15 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2002, amounting to P595.6 trillion at current prices. The country's leading exports included agricultural products such as coconut oil and fresh bananas, which contributed a combined total of $661.5 million FOB (free on board) based on January to December 2002 compilation of Foreign Trade Statistics, NSO. Moreover, based on the results of the October 2002 Labor Force Survey (LFS) of the NSO, the agriculture sector alone absorbed about one-third of the total employed persons.

In 2002, the Philippines registered a total of 4.8 million agricultural farms, covering 9.7 million hectares. The total agricultural land area constituted 32.2 percent of the country's total land area. Although the number of farms was 4.6 percent higher than the 4.6 million farms reported in 1991, the country's total farm area decreased by three percent after a period of more than one decade. The decrease in total farm area could be attributed to the conversion of farmlands to residential and commercial purposes. As a result, the average farm size declined from 2.2 hectares per farm in 1991 to two hectares per farm in 2002.

Table A. Number and Area of Farms by Region: Philippines, 1991 and 2002
(Data are tabulated by residence of operator; Area is in hectares; Details may not add up to total due to rounding.)

Source: National Statistics Office, 1991 Census of Agriculture and Fisheries and 2002 Census of Agriculture

The reduction in the average farm size could be attributed also to the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) of the government which focused on the welfare of the landless farmers and farm workers, who are willing to take over the ownership of the land and make it productive. The CARP was passed in 1988 under the administration of President Corazon Aquino and this covers all alienable and disposable lands of the public domain devoted to or suitable for agriculture, all lands of the public domain in excess of the specific limits, all other lands owned by the government devoted to or suitable for agriculture, and all private lands devoted to or suitable for agriculture regardless of the agricultural products raised or that can be raised. As reported by the Department of Agrarian Reform, about 1.4 million hectares were already distributed to 751.9 thousand farmers in the span of 10 years since 1993 through the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

Central Visayas Accounted For the Highest Number Farms But Bicol Region Had the Biggest Farm Area

Across regions, Central Visayas remained as having the highest number of farms. There were 430 thousand farms covering 522.4 thousand hectares of agricultural land in this region. The total farms for the said region accounted for 8.9 percent of the total farms in the country. However, in terms of farm area, Central Visayas ranked 13th, accounting for 5.4 percent of the country's total farm area. Compared to the 1991 data, the number of agricultural farms in Central Visayas was higher by 1.2 percent while the corresponding farm area declined by five percent.

The neighboring region (Western Visayas) ranked next to Central Visayas in terms of the number of farms, with 429.5 thousand farms occupying 666.9 thousand hectares. However, the total farm area of this region decreased by 11.6 percent, from 754.4 thousand hectares in 1991.

Even if Bicol Region placed third in terms of the number of farms (384.8 thousand), this region had the biggest farm area among all regions. It contributed 9.2 percent of the total farm area of the country (892 thousand hectares). This was despite of the fact that the farm area of the region declined by 4.7 percent against the 1991 estimate of 936.2 thousand hectares.

Palay Remained as the Major Temporary Crop in the Country

Planting of temporary crops was among the agricultural activities that the operators and farm workers had been actively involved with. Palay was consistently the major temporary crop of the country, accounting for 2.2 million farms with a combined area of 3.9 million hectares in 2002. This crop accounted for 44.6 percent of the total farms of the country while the farm area shared 40.6 percent of the country's total agricultural area. Corn followed next with 1.5 million farms, covering 2.4 million hectares. Sugarcane ranked third in terms of the total farm area (344.7 thousand hectares). In 1991, sugarcane ranked fifth in terms of the number of farms while third in the total farm area.

Palay was the top temporary crop in 12 out of the 17 regions of the country in 2002. On the other hand, corn was the dominant temporary crop in Central Visayas, Northern Mindanao, Davao Region, SOCCSKSARGEN and ARMM.

Coconut also Remained as the Dominant Permanent Crop

Majority (53.9 percent) of the farms in the country were devoted to coconut plantation, accounting for 2.6 million farms planted with 320 million trees. However, the number of coconut trees in 2002 slightly decreased by 2.4 percent, from a total of 328 million trees in 1991. Banana followed next with 2.3 million farms planted with 169.8 million hills. Pineapple ranked third with 124.9 thousand farms planted with 161.2 million hills. Other dominant permanent crops in terms of the number of trees/vines/hills were coffee robusta (42.3 million trees) and abaca (59.7 million hills). These were the same major permanent crops in 1991.

Banana was the top permanent crop in Cagayan Valley, Western Visayas, Davao Region and CAR; mango in Ilocos Region; pineapple in Northern Mindanao and SOCCSKSARGEN; while coconut for the rest of the regions.

Individual System of Irrigation was the Most Common in the Country

Irrigation was an indispensable means for producing agricultural crops in the country. In 2002, about two million farms (41.1 percent of the total farms in the country) with a total area of 2.9 million hectares were supplied with water, or 30.3 percent of the total farm area of the country. The most common system of irrigation was the individual system, which supplied water to 660.8 thousand farms with an irrigated area of one million hectares. National irrigation system followed next, which covered 774.7 thousand hectares of farms while communal irrigation system came in third, supplying water to 581.5 thousand hectares of farms.

There were other systems of irrigation used by farms such as water fetching, waterwheels, etc., which supplied water to 522.8 thousand farms with a total irrigated area of 573.6 thousand hectares.

In 1991, the most common system of irrigation in the country was the national irrigation system that was used by 492.7 thousand farms, followed by communal system with 447.5 thousand farms and individual system of irrigation with 363.3 thousand farms.

Number of Hogs Reared and Tended Increased by 1.1 Million Heads


As of March 2003, a total of 2.1 million farms reported to have reared 8.6 million hogs, 14.6 percent more than the 1991 total of 7.5 million hogs. About 16.1 percent of the total hogs came from Central Luzon and 12 percent from CALABARZON. Hog raising was the major livestock raising activity throughout the country except in ARMM where cattle is the top livestock raised (216.3 thousand heads as of March 2003).

Carabao raising ranked second with 2.8 million heads tended by 1.5 million farms. An increase of about 1.4 percent was observed from the 1991 headcount of 2.8 million carabaos. A high proportion of this livestock were from Cagayan Valley (14.9 percent).

Other major livestock reared and tended in the country were cattle (2.3 million), goats (2.1 million), and horses (328.9 thousand).

Raising of Chicken Remained the Prevalent Poultry Raising Activity

As of March 2003, raising of chicken remained as the top poultry raising activity in the country. The number of chicken raised by 3.5 million farms totaled to 126.7 million heads, almost twice that of the 1991 inventory of 87.3 million chicken. Among the regions in the country, Central Luzon contributed most to the total chicken raised by as much as 20.7 percent, followed by CALABARZON with 16.1 percent, and Northern Mindanao with 11.4 percent.

Duck raising ranked second with 11.2 million heads tended in 429.7 thousand farms. The number of ducks raised in 2002 was higher by 7.9 percent over the 1991 duck inventory of 10.4 million heads.

It can be mentioned that the number of quails raised experienced a remarkable increase where the 2002 inventory was almost thrice the 1991 figure. Central Luzon contributed four out of five quails raised in the country.

Ornamental and Flower Gardening (Excluding Orchid) Was Also Common in the Country

While most agricultural operators in the Philippines had been engaged in common agricultural activities like planting palay, corn, etc., others were also involved in agricultural activities such as bee/honeybee production, silkworm production, among others. For these types of agricultural activities, ornamental and flower gardening (excluding orchid) was dominantly practiced throughout the country by 42.2 thousand farms, although this figure was 47.4 percent lower than the 80.2 thousand farms reported in 1991.

On the other hand, the number of farms engaged in orchid growing increased by as much as 42.3 percent, from 13.5 thousand farms in 1991 to 19.2 thousand farms in 2002. Similarly, sericulture/silk/cocoon production attracted the interest of the agricultural operators where the number of farms engaged in 2002 was almost three times as that of 1991.

Male Operators Dominated the Agricultural Operation

In 2002, more male operators were engaged in agricultural operation than females. Reaching 4.3 million in the year, male operators accounted for 88.2 percent of the total agricultural operators in the country.

Agricultural operators in the country had a median age of 46 years. This means that half of the agricultural operators were below 46 years old. Female agricultural operators were generally older than males. The median age among male agricultural operators was 45 years and among females, 56 years.

Four in Five Household Members Engaged in Agricultural Activity Were Working in Own Agricultural Holdings

Household members of the agricultural operators were asked if they were engaged in any agricultural activity, whether in their own holdings, in other holdings or both.

In 2002, roughly 5.5 million household members were engaged in agricultural activities. Of this total, about 4.3 million (79.7 percent) were working in own holdings, 760.8 thousand (13.9 percent) were working both in their own holdings and in the holdings of others, and 348.3 (6.4 percent) in other agricultural holdings.

Close to 31 percent of the household members 10 to 19 years old were engaged in an agricultural activity. Four out of five (80.5 percent) of them were working in their own holding.

While males dominated the agricultural operation in the year, female non-operator household members who were engaged in an agricultural activity (3.2 million) outnumbered their male counterparts by 1.1 million.



Reference period - The reference period of the 2002 Census of Agriculture (CA 2002) was from January 1, 2002 to December 31, 2002. However, data on livestock and poultry for CA 2002 were recorded as of the time of visit of the enumerators, i.e., anytime from March 3 to April 5, 2003, while the 1991 CAF data for livestock and poultry were recorded as of August 31, 1991. Moreover, the reference period applied for the temporary crops during CA 2002 was from January 1, 2002 to December 31, 2002 while as of December 31, 2002 for the permanent crops. During the 1991 CAF, the reference period used for recording data on temporary and permanent crops was the past 12 months.

Farm - Any piece or pieces of land having a total area of at least 1,000 square meters used wholly or partly for the growing of crops such as palay, corn, fruits, vegetables, nuts, etc., and/or tending of livestock and/or poultry, regardless of number; or any land, regardless of area used for raising of at least 20 heads of livestock and/or 100 heads of poultry

Area of farm - The physical or actual measurement of the land, reported only once regardless of how many times it was used during the reference period, i.e., January 1, 2002 to December 31, 2002

Temporary Crops - Plants grown seasonally and whose growing cycle is less than one year and which must be sown or planted again for production after each harvest. In 1991, pineapple was treated as a temporary crop. Hence, the data for this crop was in terms of area planted and not the number of hills.

Permanent Crops - Plants that occupy the land for a period of time and do not need to be replaced after each harvest. Following the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) classification of pineapple as permanent crop, data for this crop for CA 2002 was in terms of number of hills.

Data limitation - The data referring to farms were tabulated according to the geographic area of the operator's residence which may not be the same as the actual location of the farm or farm parcels. 


Source:   National Statistics Office
                Manila, Philippines

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