A Review of the Agriculture Sector in Ilocos Region

Reference Number: 2004-112
Release Date: 18 December 2004


Number of Farms Declined in 2002

In 2002, Ilocos Region registered 276.8 thousand farms for agricultural use, covering 270.7 thousand hectares, or an average farm size of 0.98 hectare per farm. The region's total agricultural land area comprised 21.1 percent of the region's total land area. As the number of farms decreased by 11.2 percent from the 311.8 thousand farms reported in 1991, the average farm size likewise decreased by 0.06 hectare per farm. Generally, the decrease in the number of agricultural farms could be partly attributed to the increasing population in the region at an annual growth rate of 2.15 percent. Agricultural lands could have been converted to residential or commercial lands to cope up with population growth.

The region reported an average of 2.7 parcels per farm in 2002, which was the same as the 1991 average.

Table A. Number and Area of Farms by Province: Ilocos Region, 1991 and 2002
(Area is in Hectares) 


     Region and Province                Number of Farms                  Area of Farms       
      2002          1991          2002          1991    
Ilocos Region     276,766     311,757    270,664    324,501
     Ilocos Norte      49,312       49,480      37,269      41,027
     Ilocos Sur      46,949       52,805       36,101      47,920
     La Union      42,874       46,956       36,597      42,116
     Pangasinan     137,631     162,517     160,697     193,439

Source: NSO, 1991 Census of Agriculture and Fisheries and 2002 Census of Agriculture

Pangasinan Had the Highest Number of Farms

Among the provinces in Ilocos Region, Pangasinan shared the highest number of farms with 137.6 thousand, covering 160.7 thousand hectares of agricultural land. In fact, the total farms for the province accounted for 49.7 percent of the total farms in the region. This characteristic was expected since Pangasinan also has the biggest land area in the region. Areas under agricultural land comprised 29.9 percent of the total land area for the province. However, the number of agricultural farms for the province was lower by 15.3 percent over the 1991 level while the total area was lower by 16.9 percent.

Ilocos Norte ranked second with 49.3 thousand farms, covering 37.3 thousand hectares while Ilocos Sur came in third with 46.9 thousand farms, covering 36.1 thousand hectares.

Palay was the Major Temporary Crop of the Region

Among the temporary crops, palay was the major temporary crop in the region in terms of area planted. This crop accounted for 252.4 thousand farms with a combined area of 241.1 thousand hectares. Corn followed next with 57.0 thousand farms reporting, covering 39.3 thousand hectares. Although the region was well-known for its tobacco industry, tobacco only ranked third in 2002 as this crop experienced a 22.9 percent reduction in the number of farms and a 15.2 percent decrease in the total area planted over the 1991 figure. In 2002, about 45.0 thousand farms in the region, covering 31.1 thousand hectares, were planted with tobacco.

For all provinces in Ilocos Region, palay was the top temporary crop in 2002.

Mango Was the Dominant Permanent Crop

Meanwhile, mango accounted for more than one-half of the farms planted with permanent crops in the region, accounting for 139.1 thousand farms planted with 1.6 million trees. The increase in the number of trees over the 1991 level could be attributed to the increasing worldwide demand for Philippine mangoes. Banana followed next with 63.2 thousand farms planted with 817.6 thousand trees. Kalamansi ranked third with 23.7 thousand farms planted with 474 thousand trees. In 1991, the major permanent crops in terms of the number of trees were banana, ipil-ipil, coconut, mango, and guava.

Individual System of Irrigation Was Common in Ilocos Region

Irrigation was an indispensable means for producing agricultural crops in Ilocos Region. In 2002, about 220.3 thousand farms with an irrigated area of 185.3 thousand hectares were supplied with water, or 68.4 percent of the total agricultural land. The most common system of irrigation was the individual system, which supplied water to 127.6 thousand farms with an irrigated area of 98.6 thousand hectares. Communal system of irrigation followed next, which covered 46.7 thousand hectares while national irrigation system came in third, supplying water to 28.6 thousand hectares. Agricultural lands planted with temporary crops benefited most of the irrigation facilities in the region.

Hog Raising Dominated the Livestock Activity

The dominant type of livestock raised in Ilocos Region was hogs. A total of 97.2 farms reported to have reared 411.8 thousand hogs as of March 2003. In terms of number of hogs reared, the figure was 8.8 percent more than the 1991 total of 378.5 thousand hogs.

Cattle raising ranked second with 279.3 thousand heads tended. Experiencing a 10.2 percent increase over the 1991 figure, goat raising ranked third with 235.1 thousand heads as of March 2003.

Hog raising was also the top livestock activity in all provinces of Ilocos Region, with Pangasinan sharing the highest number of hogs tended (nearly one-half of the total for the region). However, the next top livestock activity varied from one province to another. Cattle raising ranked second in Pangasinan and Ilocos Norte, goat raising in Ilocos Sur, and carabao raising in La Union.

Raising of Chicken Was the Primary Poultry Activity

Raising of chicken was the primary poultry activity in Ilocos Region. About 196.1 thousand farms reported to have raised 5.4 million chicken in the region as of March 2003. In terms of the number of chicken raised, the figure was 51.8 percent higher over the 1991 level of 3.5 million chicken. However, this percent increase was not the highest in the region, as quail raising experienced a remarkable five-fold increase or 554.7 percent in terms of number, or from 21.1 thousand in 1991 to 137.9 thousand in 2003.

Although raising of ducks ranked second as of March 2003 with 21.4 thousand farms reporting to have raised 248.3 thousand ducks, the total number of ducks raised was however, comparatively lower by 93.0 thousand over the 1991 level of 341.3 thousand ducks.

Among the provinces in the region, Pangasinan contributed most to the total chicken raised in the region by as much as 68.5 percent, followed by La Union with 12.1 percent and Ilocos Norte with 10.8 percent.

Source: NSO, 1991 Census of Agriculture and Fisheries and 2002 Census of Agriculture 

Ornamental and Flower Gardening Also Common in the Region

While most agricultural operators in Ilocos Region were engaged in common agricultural activities like planting palay, corn, etc., others were also involved in other agricultural activities like bee culture/honeybee production, silkworm production, among others. For this type of agricultural activity, ornamental and flower gardening (excluding orchid) reported the highest number of 894 farms in the region. However, this figure was 73.7 percent lower than the 3.4 thousand farms reported in 1991.

Unlike ornamental and flower gardening (excluding orchid), sericulture/silk/cocoon production attracted the interest of the agricultural operators where it posted a 108.8 percent increase, or from 170 farms in 1991 to 355 farms in 2002. Similarly, orchid growing posted an increase of 38.1 percent, or 154 more farms over the 1991 level of 404 farms.

Male Operators Dominated the Agriculture Operation

More male operators were engaged in agriculture than their female counterparts. In 2002, male operators, numbering 250.8 thousand, accounted for 90.6 percent of the total agricultural operators in the region.

Meanwhile, majority of the operators in the region, totaling 139.3 thousand, belonged to the 35 to 54 year age group.

More than 70 Percent of the Household Members Engaged in Any Agricultural Activity Were Working in Own Agricultural Holding

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

In 2002, a total of 338.1 thousand household members were engaged in agricultural activities. Of this number, 249.4 thousand (73.8 %) were employed in own holding, 74.2 thousand (21.9 %) were employed at the same time in their own holding and in the holding of others, and 14.6 thousand (4.3 %) in other holdings.

Household members who were engaged in any agricultural activity were mostly concentrated in the 10 to 24 year age group. About 146.0 thousand or 33.9 percent of the household members in this age group were engaged in any agricultural activity.

Moreover, while male operators dominated the agricultural operations in the year, female non-operator household members who were engaged in any agricultural activity, numbering 187.5 thousand, on the other hand, outnumbered their male counterparts by 42.4 thousand.



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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