A Review of the Agriculture Sector in Bicol Region

Reference Number: 


Release Date: 

Tuesday, October 26, 2004


Number of Farms Increased by 1.9 Percent in 2002

The number of farms in Bicol Region slightly increased by 1.9 percent, from 377.8 thousand in 1991 to 384.8 thousand in 2002. These farms covered an area of 892.0 thousand hectares, almost half (48.4 percent) of the region,s total land area. However, the total area of farms in the region decreased by 4.7 percent during the period mentioned. This is attributed to the decrease in the area of farms in almost all provinces in the region, especially Camarines Norte and Camarines Sur with 13.2 percent and 7.8 percent reduction, respectively. Likewise, the average farm size decreased from 2.5 hectares in 1991 to 2.3 hectares in 2002.

About 38.1 percent of the farms in the region had one parcel or an average of two parcels per farm in 2002.

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

     Region and Province                Number of Farms                  Area of Farms       
       2002          1991     2002         1991    
Bicol Region    384,801    377,791    891,955    936,174
     Albay      83,274      76,675    135,161    134,620
     Camarines Norte      33,198      32,007    111,854    128,922
     Camarines Sur    134,127    129,646    262,945    285,178
     Catanduanes     22,479      21,894     47,901      49,674
     Masbate     59,353      67,952    207,500    210,739
     Sorsogon     52,370      49,617    126,594    127,042

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

Average Size of Farm in Masbate was 3.5 Hectares

Masbate ranked second in terms of farm area in Bicol Region with 207.5 thousand hectares in 59.4 thousand farms. About 23.3 percent of the total farm area in the region was accounted for by this province. This resulted to an average farm size of 3.5 hectares, the largest among provinces in the region.

Although Camarines Sur accounted for the highest number of farms (134.1 thousand) and the largest farm area in the region (263.0 thousand hectares), its average farm size was only 2.0 hectares.

Palay was the Major Temporary Crop of the Region

Palay, which was grown in 250.0 thousand hectares as reported by 163.5 thousand farms, was the major temporary crop of the region in 2002. This is despite the reduction in the area devoted to palay, from 295.0 thousand hectares (15.3 percent reduction) in 1991. The next major temporary crop was corn, covering 66.2 thousand hectares in 63.9 thousand farms. Other major temporary crops planted in the region were tubers, roots and bulbs (27.8 thousand hectares), sugarcane (5.7 thousand hectares), and fruit bearing vegetables (5.4 thousand hectares).

Across provinces, palay was consistently the top major temporary crop except in Masbate. In 2002, about 46.9 percent (117.2 thousand hectares) of the total area planted with palay was in Camarines Sur and 15.5 percent (38.7 thousand hectares) in Albay. Similar pattern was observed in 1991.

Coconut Remained the Major Permanent Crop

Coconut remained the major permanent crop in the region with 54.0 million trees as reported by 277.2 thousand farms despite the decrease in the number of coconut trees by about 3.2 percent, from a total of 55.9 million trees in 1991. Pineapple ranked second with 28.5 million hills planted in 18.6 thousand farms.

The next most important crop in the region was abaca numbering to 27.3 million hills in 26.9 thousand farms, an increase of about 11.9 percent from 1991. Other important permanent crops in the region were banana and mango with 11.1 million hills and 1.8 million trees, respectively.

Pineapple was predominantly planted in Camarines Norte and abaca in Catanduanes while the rest of the provinces were devoted to coconut plantation. In 1991, in terms of area planted, pineapple was also one of the major crops in Camarines Norte, Catanduanes and Sorsogon.

National Irrigation System was Popular in the Region

In Bicol Region, irrigation is a vital means for increasing the production of agricultural crops.

About 138.0 thousand farms with a combined area of 217.1 thousand hectares had an irrigation system in 2002. In terms of the number of farms, national system of irrigation was popular in 2002, which supplied water to 43.5 thousand farms with an irrigated farm area of 43.8 thousand hectares. Communal irrigation system was the next common system, which supplied water to 41.2 thousand farms with a total irrigated area of 50.0 thousand hectares. Next was the individual system of irrigation which covered 85.9 thousand hectares of land.

Hog Raising Topped the Livestock Raising Activity

Among the livestock reared and tended in Bicol Region, hogs accounted for the largest share. From a total 467.0 thousand hogs reported in 1991, about 496.9 thousand hogs were reared in 182.2 thousand farms in 2002. About 32.2 percent of these came from Camarines Sur, 24.7 percent from Masbate, 19.8 percent from Albay, and 11.2 percent from Sorsogon.

Tending of carabao ranked second with 224.8 thousand heads as reported by 134.1 thousand farms. A decrease of about 23.6 thousand carabaos was observed from the 1991 figure of 248.4 thousand heads. The highest number of carabao came from Camarines Sur (29.6 percent) and Masbate (26.8 percent).

Other major livestock reared and tended in Bicol Region were cattle (135.2 thousand), goats (73.5 thousand) and horses (23.4 thousand).

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

Chicken Dominated the Poultry Raising Activity

In 2002, 272.9 thousand farms raised 6.0 million chicken, an increase of 59.2 percent when compared to the 1991 figure of 3.8 million heads. Camarines Sur shared 62.1 percent of the total chicken for the region, followed by Albay with 12.0 percent share.

Duck raising came next with 363.8 thousand heads as reported by 21.4 thousand farms. A decrease of about 8.4 percent was observed compared to the 1991 estimated number of ducks. The largest share came from Camarines Sur with 57.8 percent of the total ducks in the region.

While quail raising activity came in third, the number of quails raised doubled in 2002, from 13.3 thousand heads in 1991 to 27.8 thousand heads in 2002. Almost three-fourth of the total quails raised came from Camarines Sur (74.0 percent).

Bicolanos also Preferred Ornamental and Flower Gardening

Ornamental and flower gardening (excluding orchids) was also predominantly practiced in Bicol Region aside from the common agricultural activities like planting palay, corn, etc.. About 3.2 thousand farms were engaged in this activity. However, this figure was 44.5 percent lower than the 5.7 thousand farms engaged in 1991.

Bee culture/honey production also attracted the interest of the agricultural operators with more than two-fold increase in terms of the number of farms, from 618 farms in 1991 to 2.2 thousand farms in 2002. More than half of the farms engaged in this activity were managed by the operators in Albay.

More than one-third of the Agricultural Operators were 40-54 Years Old

About 35.4 percent of the agricultural operators in Bicol Region (136.3 thousand), belonged to the 40-54 year age group. The lowest proportion (2.3 percent) of the operators belonged to the younger age group (15-24 years).

Nine out of ten agricultural operators were males (87.3 percent). One in four male agricultural operators (24.8 percent) was between 35-44 years old while two in five female agricultural operators (39.6 percent) appeared older, between 55-69 years old.

Two Out of Five Household Members were Engaged in Agriculture

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

In 2002, a total of 487.8 thousand household members (42.4 percent) were engaged in agricultural activities. Of this number, about 417.6 thousand (85.6 percent) household members were engaged in own holding, 47.6 thousand (9.7 percent) both in their own holding and in the holding of others, and 22.7 thousand (4.6 percent) in other holdings.

On the other hand, a total of 288.0 thousand females were engaged in agricultural activity, outnumbering the males by 89.6 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 might not be the same as the actual location of the farm or farm parcels. 


Source:   National Statistics Office
                Manila, Philippines