Philippines Business and Agriculture


After political stabilization in the 1990s, the Philippines made progress in development, including by releasing the peso exchange rate, opening the economy further to foreign countries, eliminating monopolies in several sectors and accelerating the privatization of state-owned companies. In economic comparison, however, they are well behind more successful neighboring countries such as Malaysia or Thailand. With a contribution of (2016) 9.7% to the gross domestic product (GDP) and an employment share of around 29%, agriculture is still of great importance. However, it is now clearly outperformed by the service sector, which contributes 59.5% to GDP and around 55% to total employment. In the manufacturing sector (industry, construction, Mining and manufacturing) already account for 30.8% of GDP, but only approximately 16% of employees. The remittances of over 10 million migrant workers working abroad are of economic importance. The informal sector is also of major importance for value creation and employment.

Inflation is relatively low (2016: 1.8%); the unemployment rate is 5.5% (2016) with a high level of underemployment (around 20%). The gross national income (GNI) is (2017) US $ 3,660 per resident. The income structure of the country is characterized by considerable disparities: over a fifth of the population officially lives below the poverty line; according to estimates, the proportion is twice as high. This imbalance could not be minimized by the continuous economic growth in recent years. In 2003–2009 the GDP growth rate averaged 4.8%; In 2010, the Philippines recorded the highest growth in recent decades with 7.3% (2016: 6.9%).

Foreign trade: With a few exceptions in the second half of the 1990s, the Philippines’ foreign trade balance is in deficit (import value in 2016: US $ 85.9 billion; export value: US $ 56.3 billion). However, due to the high level of remittances from Filipino labor migrants abroad, government development aid and foreign direct investments, a positive balance of payments could be achieved in most years. While traditional agricultural products such as B. Coconut products only make up a small and declining share of exports, electrotechnical and electronic products now account for 56.4% of total exports. In addition, mainly food, textiles and clothing are exported. The main import goods are intermediate products for the electronics and semiconductor industry, crude oil and petroleum products, chemical products, Food and machinery. The main foreign trade partners are Japan, the USA, Singapore and China.


With its high proportion of employees, the agricultural sector is still of great importance for the national economy. About 12.5 million hectares (41.6% of the total land area) are used for agriculture; however, the production is not sufficient to supply the population. The most important crop is the staple food rice.

The leading crops for export are bananas, coconuts – the Philippines are the world’s largest copra producer – and pineapples. Sugar cane, which used to dominate, is only of minor importance to foreign trade. Other important crops are corn, mango and citrus fruits, coffee, tobacco, rubber, cassava, vegetables and melons. The main livestock are water buffalo, cattle, goats, pigs and poultry.

Forestry: Through (legal and illegal) logging and slash and burn, a large part of the once lush rainforests was destroyed in the past, so that the proportion of forest areas in the land area fell from over 50% to around 20% in the meantime (1990). Since the 1990s, the protective provisions have been tightened considerably (including the export ban on logs). In the period that followed, officially registered logging (industrial logs) fell to an annual average of around 400,000 m 3 . Due to the restriction of forestry and reforestation, the proportion of forest areas has meanwhile increased again to (2014) 26.2%.

Fisheries: The Philippines are one of the most important fishing nations. Fish is one of the most important foods, and more than half of the population’s protein needs are met by fish and other marine products. In 2014, 4.69 million t of fish were landed, almost 50% of which came from fish farms. In addition, 1.84 million t of aquatic plants were harvested.

Natural resources

The Philippines has extensive deposits of gold (including on Mindanao), silver, copper (northern Luzon and on the island of Cebu), nickel, lead and chromium and, to a lesser extent, zinc, cobalt and manganese, which have only been partially developed and mined become. Hard coal mining has increased since the early 1980s (2015: 7.38 million t). The company’s own oil production (northeast of the island of Palawan) is low and cannot cover its own needs by far. Larger natural gas deposits were also discovered offshore off Palawan (Malampaya field), which are still at the beginning of their use. The territorial claims that the Philippines, together with China, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam, have on the presumably oil-rich waters around the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea have not yet been regulated under international law.

Energy industry

The Philippines have made significant progress in securing a reliable power supply, but bottlenecks persist. Around two thirds of the installed capacity is generated by coal, oil and natural gas power plants; the rest is accounted for by hydropower and geothermal power plants. Oil must be imported on a larger scale; The main suppliers are Saudi Arabia, Iran and the United Arab Emirates.

Philippines Agriculture