Written by John Carlo Tria
Which is why we will all do our part in boosting the recovery, safely. Buy local. Do online events using delivered food to patronize local restaurants. There will be other means but all revolve around stimulating demand, and income in the local economy- which includes us.
Nonetheless, it pays to note that the second quarter GDP numbers reflect growth figures not of today’s economy, but the economy from March to June, which was the height of ECQ restrictions around the country. The recovery already begun since GCQ happened two weeks before the end of that particular quarter in May, where many restrictions like those on critical public transport and construction activities that employ millions, were eased.
Many areas outside the greater Manila area are now under Modified General Community quarantine where even more economic sectors have restarted. Lets hope this continues. That’s still a big part of the economy.
Moreover, it is worth noting that the decline in merchandise trade and factory output, which employs workers, has slowed, indicating recovery compared to the previous month. (https://mb.com.ph/2020/08/05/factory-output-shows-signs-of-recovery-neda/). That said, as the modest, safe recovery cited by the government continues, we will all be pulled up, especially those that are hard hit.
As further stimulus programs and an economic recharge plan are being further developed by the government’s economic team and congress, we hope for even more recovery in the coming months.
In light of recent macroeconomic numbers, most businesses look at the performance of their sector and the geographic regions tend to have different growth rates than the country’s.
That said, agriculture outperformed the rest by actually growing at 1.6% , bouncing back from last quarter’s decline.
For many of us in Mindanao this agri rebound is welcome news, as about a third or so of our island’s economy is rooted in it. Despite initial hiccups on transport, the continuous operation of these farms and businesses, and perhaps some innovations by going online throughout the ECQ period may have brought about the growth.
This growth will attract investment. Already, there are businesses looking at food production, distribution, and processing. And why not?
A look at second half reports of many companies show that those producing food for households reported incomes, a surprise for those who think that all businesses failed or will fail in the first half of 2020. The pandemic has not affected all companies. Effect is mixed.
Moving forward, boosting agriculture further will require the financing and tech support programs envisioned under the stimulus bills, and improved logistics and connectivity infrastructure, especially the one between Mindanao and the Visayas and luzon. This will lower the cost of food transport, improve the businesses and livelihoods of food growers and producers, and help us reduce the country’s food imports. Lower taxes as proposed under the CREATE bill will also help.
Cover image by Ian Panelo from Pexels
Article first appeared in the Manila Bulletin website last August 20, 2020.