A Review of the Agricultural Sector in Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao

Reference Number: 


Release Date: 

Friday, November 5, 2004


Number of farms increased in 2002

In 2002, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) registered 248.5 thousand farms for agricultural use, covering 533.4 thousand hectares. The region’s total agricultural land area comprised 25.9 percent of the region’s total land area. As the number of farms increased by 9.2 percent from 227.6 thousand farms in 1991, the farm size however, decreased from 2.5 hectares per farm to 2.1 hectares per farm.

About 97.5 percent of the total farms in the region had one to three parcels with an average parcel size of around two hectares in 2002. Overall, the region reported an average of 1.6 parcels per farm.

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

     Region and Province     

          Number of Farms       

          Area of Farms       




















     Lanao del Sur





















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

Maguindanao reported the highest number of farms

Among the provinces in ARMM, Maguindanao shared the highest number of farms with 95.1 thousand, covering 221.2 thousand hectares of agricultural land in 2002. Although among the provinces in the region, Maguindanao is only second to the largest in terms of the total land area, its agricultural land was the largest in the region for sharing 41.5 percent of the total agricultural land in the region. This pattern was also true in 1991 even when there were decreases in the number of agricultural farms (5.3 percent) and agricultural area (7.4 percent) in 2002.

Lanao del Sur ranked second with 64.8 thousand farms, covering 140.1 thousand hectares while Sulu came in third with 49.4 thousand farms, covering 59.5 thousand hectares. On the other hand, although Basilan and Tawi-tawi, ranked fourth and fifth in terms of the number of farms, these were the only provinces in the region with an increase in the agricultural land area (7.1 thousand and 957 hectares, respectively).

Corn was the major temporary crop in the region

Among the temporary crops, corn was the major temporary crop in the region in terms of area planted. This crop accounted for 114.8 thousand farms with a combined area of 271.7 thousand hectares of land. It was still the main crop in the region even if it experienced an 18.7 percent reduction in the number of farms and a 7.6 percent decrease in the total area planted from 1991 to 2002.

Palay followed next with 76.6 thousand farms reporting, covering 155.5 thousand hectares. Just like corn, palay recorded a reduction both in the number of farms (38 thousand farms) and area planted (7.9 thousand hectares). Tubers, roots and bulbs, ranked third with 74.3 thousand farms and 29.7 thousand hectares of land. Unlike palay and corn, tuber, roots and bulbs established an increase in the number of farms and area planted by 15.8 percent and 12.7 percent, respectively.

Corn was the top temporary crop in Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur in 2002. Maguindanao had the highest share of 60.4 percent (164.1 thousand hectares) of the total area planted with corn. Tubers, roots and bulbs, on the other hand, was common in Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-tawi where more than one-third of the total area devoted to this crop was managed by the operators in Tawi-tawi.

Coconut was the dominant permanent crop

Coconut trees were planted to more than half (55.8 percent) of the farms in the region, accounting for 138.7 thousand farms planted with 21.3 million trees. Banana, followed next with 79.3 thousand farms planted with 4.9 million hills. Rubber ranked third with 2.2 thousand farms planted with 2.3 million trees. In 1991, the major permanent crops in the region in terms of the number of trees/vines/hills were coconut, banana, coffee arabica, coffee robusta, and rubber.

All provinces in ARMM reported coconut as their principal trees, of which Basilan accounted for 34.5 percent of the total coconut trees in the region. Banana was also common among the provinces where majority (65.7 percent) of this crop were managed by the operators from Maguindanao.

Individual system of irrigation was common in ARMM

Irrigation was an indispensable means for producing agricultural crops. In 2002, ARMM had 56.2 thousand farms with a combined irrigated area of 111.1 thousand hectares, or 20.8 percent of the total agricultural land. The most common system of irrigation was the individual system, which supplied water to 20.7 thousand farms with a total irrigated area of 40.8 thousand hectares. National system of irrigation followed next, which covered 32.4 thousand hectares while communal system came in third, supplying water to 21.4 thousand hectares of agricultural land. Farms with temporary crops benefited most of the irrigation facilities in the region.

Tending of cattle dominated the livestock raising activity

The dominant livestock raised in ARMM during 2002 was cattle. A total of 91.6 thousand farms reported to have reared 216.3 thousand cattle as of March 2003. In terms of number of the cattle tended, the figure increased by 72 thousand heads (49.9 percent) over the 1991 total of 144.3 thousand.

Goat raising which ranked one in 1991, placed second in 2002 with 199.6 thousand heads tended, showing a 24.4 percent decrease compared to the 1991 figure. Experiencing a 12.8 percent decrease over the 1991 figure, tending of carabao ranked third with 127.9 thousand heads as of March 2003.

Basilan, Lanao del Sur, and Sulu had cattle as the number one livestock in terms of the headcount while goat in Maguindanao and Tawi-tawi. Although, Maguidanao tended more goats (83.4 thousand) than cattle, this province contributed more than one-third (36.2 percent) of the total cattle population in the region.


Chicken raising remained the primary poultry raising activity

Raising of chicken was the primary poultry raising activity in ARMM. About 159.6 thousand farms reported to have raised 2.3 million chicken in the region as of March 2003. In terms of the number of chicken raised, the figure was lower by 21.3 percent over the 1991 level of 2.9 million chicken. A high proportion (45.2 percent) came from Maguindanao.

Raising of ducks ranked second with 37.9 thousand farms reporting to have raised 473.5 thousand ducks as of March 2003. The number of ducks tended also decreased by 31.4 percent over the 1991 figure of 689.9 thousand ducks. Likewise, the number of farms reporting decreased by 47.7 percent. About 83.7 percent of the ducks raised came from Maguindanao.

Mushroom culture was another common activity in the region

While most agricultural operators in ARMM were engaged in common agricultural activities like planting palay, corn, etc., others were also involved in agricultural activities like bee culture/honeybee production, silkworm production, among others. For these types of agricultural activities, mushroom culture attracted a number of agricultural operators reporting the biggest number of farms engaged (2.2 thousand). The 2002 level was almost seven times of the 340 farms reported in 1991. This activity was mostly found in Maguindanao (78.3 percent of the total in the region).


One female for every 16 male agricultural operators

In 2002, ARMM recorded 248.5 thousand agricultural operators aged 15 years old and over, broken down into 231.5 thousand males (93.2 percent) and 14.1 thousand females (5.7 percent). This translates to a ratio of one female for every 16 male agricultural operators.

Majority of the operators in the region (70.5 percent) belonged to the 25 to 49 year age group.

About 84 percent of the household members engaged in an agricultural activity were working in own agricultural holding

Household members 10 years old and over 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.

In 2002, a total of 132.5 thousand household members were engaged in agricultural activities. Of this number, about 111.4 thousand (84.1 percent) were employed in own holding, 10.1 thousand (7.6 percent) both in their own holding and in the holding of others, and 11 thousand (8.3 percent) in other holdings.

About 15.1 percent of the household members aged 10 to 24 years were engaged in an agricultural activity. Four in five (81.8 percent) of them were engaged in their own holding.



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

Page last revised:   November 5, 2004