Country Focus Data: The Philippines

by Melissa Alexander
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Capital: Manila.

Demography: Population 81.2 million, 2.07% growth rate (2000 estimates); Pilipino, English official languages; 83% Roman Catholic, 9% Protestant, 5% Muslim religions.

Geography: In southeastern Asia, an archipelago between the Philippine Sea and the South China Sea; tropical marine climate, monsoonal; mostly mountains with narrow to extensive coastal lowlands.

Government: Republic. Chief of state and head of government is President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Arroyo assumed office after the mid-January resignation of Joseph Estrada, following a governmental crisis and controversy over impeachment proceedings.

Official agricultural agencies: Department of Agriculture under Secretary Edgardo J. Angara.

Economy: Mostly market economy, although government involvement persists in some key sectors. The El Nino drought of 1998 and the Asian financial crisis seriously eroded the Philippines' economic growth, but recovery resumed in 1999. The government is seeking to continue reforms to help the Philippine economy match growth rates enjoyed by East Asian neighbors. Strategies include improving infrastructure, overhauling the tax system to bolster government revenues and moving toward further deregulation and privatization.

G.D.P. per capita: U.S.$3,600 (purchasing power parity), 2.9% growth rate, 6.8% inflation (all 1999 estimates).

Currency: Philippine peso. Jan. 16, 2001 exchange rate: 53 pesos per U.S. dollar.

Exports: U.S.$34.8 billion (f.o.b., 1999), electronics, machinery, coconut products.

Imports: U.S.$30.7 billion (f.o.b., 1999), raw materials, capital goods.

Major crops/agricultural products: Maize, rice, coconuts, sugar cane.

Wheat: The Philippines grows no wheat, relying solely on imports to meet food and feed needs. Wheat for food use now may be imported at lower tariff rates, so virtually all imports are claimed for food purposes. Imports in the past five years averaged 2.49 million tonnes, with feed use averaging 720,000 a year. In the past two years, however, annual feed use has been estimated to exceed 1 million tonnes.

Maize: Maize output averaged 4.3 million tonnes a year in the past five years, with total use averaging 4.7 million, feed use averaging 3.2 million and imports averaging 404,000 a year.

Rice:. Milled rice production averaged 7.2 million tonnes, with imports at 1 million.

Transportation: Rail, 492 km, all 1.067-m gauge; highways, 199,950 km, 39,590 paved; major ports are Manila, Batangas, Cebu, Subic Bay.

Data

(1,000 tonnes)

Production

Consumption

Exports

Imports

Wheat

0

2,800

0

3,000

Flour

1,301

NA

NA

NA

Maize

4,300

5,150

0

600

Rice

7,883

8,550

0

750

2000-01 marketing year estimates for wheat, maize and rice; 1998 for flour.

All rice figures are on a milled basis.

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, International Grains Council

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