Based on the latest existing land use data from the Local Resources Evaluation Project in 1988, more than half of the total land area is utilized for agriculture and other development activities while 9 percent which have potentials for agricultural use are underutilized. The province, which has the largest expansion area is Masbate with 52,600 hectares while Sorsogon has the least areas available for agricultural expansion. Thus, said provinces have more underdeveloped lands.
Table 3.04 Land Use Opportunity by Province, Bicol Region: 1988
Source: Land Resource Evaluation Project, Department of Agriculture. There is no available data for land use opportunity for Camarines Norte, thus, the difference in land area with previous tables
Majority (69.3 percent) of Bicol’s land area is classified as alienable and disposable. Camarines Sur accounts for the largest share (28 percent) followed by Masbate with 24 percent share.
Status of Land Classification, Bicol Region: 1992-1998
|Total Land Area (Bicol Region)
|Certified Alienable & Disposable
|Unclassified Forest Land
|Classified Forest Lands
|Established Forest Reserve
|Established Timber Lands
|National Parks, GRBS & Wild Life Area
Source: Regional Socio Economic Trends, Bicol Region: CY 1999 , recomputed using data on land area from the DENR
Production Land Use
The existing area for production land use in the Bicol Region consists of agricultural lands, mineral lands, production forests and eco-tourism sites. The region has identified some industrial sites but there are no on-site developments and locators yet.
As of 1988, the area devoted to agricultural production covered 895,055 hectares. This represented 51 percent of the total land area of the region. Its breakdown by landform showed that 62 percent are in the lowlands and 38 percent are in the uplands. The 1991 census of agriculture indicated Bicol’s total farm area at 936,174 hectares. This represented a 4.6 percent increase over the 1988 data. The average farm size, however, decreased from 4.13 hectares in 1971 to 2.48 hectares in 1991.
The growing population and expanding trade and commerce pressured the conversion of agricultural lands into other uses. Within 15 years (from 1989 to 2003), a total of 1,358.8 hectares of agricultural lands were officially converted to other uses. Of the total, almost half (47 percent) was located in Camarines Sur. Albay followed this with 36 percent. The two provinces accounted for more than four-fifths of the total converted lands. In terms of their alternative uses, almost 70 percent of the agricultural lands were turned into residential areas. These were mostly subdivisions found within lowlands abutting urban centers. Industrial land conversion accounted for 12 percent although proponents still have to realize its full utilization. Agro-industrial conversion reached 5.7 percent.
The region’s croplands consist of areas devoted to rice, corn, coconut, abaca, sugarcane and other crop commodities. These are located within alienable and disposable lands and public lands regardless of tenure status. Within the croplands there are 179,692 hectares of prime lands devoted to rice production. Some 116,064 hectares of those prime lands are fully irrigated while 63,628 hectares are non-irrigated. The irrigated rice lands are found within the Bicol River Basin area in the provinces of Albay and Camarines Sur. These areas, however, are subjected to yearly flooding and siltation as calamities regularly occur. The Irosin-Juban valley in the Sorsogon province is another area where big tracts of rice land can be found.
Palay production increased at an annual average of 2.3 percent for the last eight years. Such good production is associated with the prevalence of favorable weather condition in the region; when calamities strike, production goes down (as in 1998 when a drought and a strong typhoon visited the region).
Among the provinces, Camarines Sur remains as the region’s rice granary, accounting for more than half of the region’s palay production. In terms of area harvested, the last eight years saw an annual decline of 1.4 percent. From a high 305,140 hectares in 1996, this declined to 277,136 hectares in 2003. Among the provinces, Albay had the highest rate of decline at 4.5 percent per year. The average yield of palay increased by 4.07 percent per year or from 2.14 metric tons per hectare in 1996 to 2.75 metric tons per hectare in 2003. Camarines Sur and Albay realized high palay average yields. However, the region’s average yield for palay was still low when compared to the national average yield of 3.37 metric tons per hectare.
The volume of corn production declined at an average of 5 percent annually for the last eight years. The 1996 production of 101,482 metric tons went down to 66,361 metric tons in 2003. Albay experienced the most rapid decline at 8.6 percent per year. In 1996, Albay was the leading corn producer of the region, accounting for 41 percent of the total regional production. In 2003, Albay slid to third position, contributing only 25 percent of the region’s total corn production. Except for the province of Masbate, all Bicol provinces experienced a decline in corn production.
The area harvested for corn, likewise, declined at an average rate of 4.6 percent (from 120,140 hectares in 1996 to 81,762 hectares in 2003). Albay and Catanduanes recorded the most rapid drops in area harvested. The leading corn producing province was Masbate, with 60 percent of the total regional area for the year 2003. The regional average yield of corn for the last eight years ranged from 0.74 to 0.86 metric tons per hectare. This fared badly with the national average yield of 1.62 to 1.92 metric tons. While the regional average yield remained constant, the national average yield increased. Among the provinces, Camarines Sur had the highest average harvest of 1.48 metric tons per hectare.
Coconut production increased by an average of 15.6 percent per year, from 758,750 metric tons in 1997 to 1,232,615 metric tons in 2001. Masbate and Camarines Sur remained as the leading coconut producing provinces of the region. Camarines Sur registered the highest annual increase in production at 51.2 percent.
In terms of area harvested, the period 1997 to 2001 posted a decline of 1.9 percent every year. Except for those of Camarines Sur and Masbate, the area harvested for coconut among all other Bicol provinces shrunk with Camarines Norte having a declining rate of 5.4 percent every year. Except for Catanduanes, however, all Bicol provinces increased their average yields of coconut. Camarines Sur registered the highest increase in average production at 47.7 percent. Masbate attained the highest average yield at 4.91 metric tons in 2001. Coconut is highly susceptible to strong winds, hence, its average output is totally affected by the occurrence of typhoons.
The region’s abaca hectarage during the said period declined by 0.01 percent per year, which was greatly felt in Catanduanes that experienced the highest rate of decline at 3.13 percent per year. The average yield of abaca increased by 5.35 percent per hectare per year compared to the national average yield of 800 kilograms per hectare. Bicol’s average yield was very low at 300 to 350 kilograms per hectare per year.
Abaca production had fluctuated from 1997 to 2001, although it registered a 0.3 percent increase per year. Catanduanes led the abaca producing provinces, accounting for more than half of the total regional production. Sorsogon was a far second with 20 percent of the total. Camarines Sur and Catanduanes also boosted their abaca production while Albay, Camarines Norte and Sorsogon experienced waning outputs.
Area harvested for abaca declined by an average of 2.2 percent per year. The downtrend was experienced by all provinces, except Camarines Sur. Albay had the highest rate of decline at 8.2 percent per year. The average yield of abaca increased by 2.4 percent per hectare per year. Compared to the national average, Bicol’s yield was very low at 0.41 to 0.53 metric tons per hectare.
The province of Camarines Sur had the only commercial growing area for sugarcane in the Bicol region. From 1997 to 2001, its sugarcane production increased by 4.1 percent per year (or from 216,587 metric tons in 1997 to 252,235 metric tons in 2001).
Area harvested for sugarcane also increased by 2.2 percent per year. As of 2001, total area harvested for sugarcane was 6,913 hectares. The average yield of sugarcane per hectare increased by 0.5 percent or from 34.12 metric tons in 1997 to 36.49 metric tons per hectare in 2001. Compared to the national average yield, Bicol’s average was only 57 of the national figure.
The volume of mango production grew by 14.1 percent or from 887 metric tons in 1996 to 1,170 metric tons in 2002. Camarines Norte registered the bulk of the increase with an annual growth rate of 144.5 percent; likewise for Sorsogon, albeit with 2.6 percent. All other Bicol provinces experienced drops in their mango yield.
Area harvested for mango increased by 24.8 percent per year. The greatest increase in area harvested was in Camarines Norte at 717 percent. Albay, Catanduanes and Masbate did not experience a change in their mango production areas. Average yield of mango declined by 4.3 percent per year. All Bicol provinces had declining average yields of mango with Camarines Sur having the highest at 15.3 percent decline every year.
Banana production experienced a 35.5 percent annual growth rate from 1996 to 2002. Except for Catanduanes, all Bicol provinces had increasing banana production. Albay had the highest growth rate at 101 percent followed by Sorsogon with 98 percent. Since banana production is highly susceptible to strong winds, its 1998 yield went down to around 25,500 metric tons due to a strong typhoon that hit Bicol.
In terms of area harvested, the region registered an 11.6 percent average increase per year. The highest increase was registered in Albay province with 58.6 percent. Camarines Sur had the highest area harvested for banana at 9,539 hectares in 2002. This represents almost half of the total area harvested for banana in 2002. Average yield of banana for Bicol is 3.44 metric tons. This is approximately one-fourth of the national average yield of 13.23 metric tons per hectare. Except for Catanduanes, all Bicol provinces attained increases in annual average yield. The highest average yield was registered in Albay at 12.61 metric tons per hectare.
Pineapple production increased by an average of 5.5 percent per year from 1996 to 2002. Its bulk came from the province of Camarines Norte, which accounted for 94 percent of the regional production. Except for Catanduanes, all other Bicol provinces had increasing trends in pineapple production.
The overall area harvested for pineapple decreased by 0.5 percent per year. Sorsogon had the largest average of 12.6 percent increase in area harvested for pineapple while Camarines Sur had only 1.1 percent average. The average yield of pineapple increased by 6.2 percent per annum. The highest average yield was in Camarines Norte at 26.77 metric tons per hectare in 2002.
The volume of calamansi production had been decreasing by an average of 9.2 percent per year from 1996 to 2002. Among the provinces, only Sorsogon registered an annual average increase in production of 6.7 percent. Camarines Norte, a leading calamansi-producing province in 1996 (with 2,228 mt), slumped in 2002 as it dipped to only 221 metric tons, roughly 10 percent of its 1996 production level.
In contrast to the decline in the volume of production, the area harvested for calamansi increased by 1.6 percent per year. Sorsogon had the highest increase at 6.7 percent per annum while that for Camarines Sur increased by 0.6 percent. The average yield of calamansi per area harvested declined by 9.9 percent per year. Camarines Norte registered the most drastic drop from 27.17 metric tons per hectare in 1996 to 2.8 metric tons per hectare in 2002. In contrast, the national aveage yield of calamansi increased by 16 percent per annum.
Camote production from 1996 to 2002 declined by an average of 6.1 percent per year or from 169,877 metric tons in 1996 to 107,237 metric tons in 2002. Camarines Sur was the leading camote producing province despite the 8.6 percent annual reduction in its volume output (from 117,352 metric tons in 1996 to 56,832 metric tons in 2002).
The area harvested for camote decreased by 4.7 percent per year from 1996 to 2002. Only the province of Albay increased its area harvested for camote with a 3.6 percent growth rate. The average yield per hectare declined by two percent per year. Masbate and Sorsogon had increased average yields while the rest of the provinces experienced diminished harvests.
Cassava production declined by an average of 5.1 percent during the period 1996 to 2002 (from 224,951 metric tons in 1996 to 156, 521 metric tons in 2002). Masbate and Sorsogon had increased cassava production, although their shares of the regional production were minimal. Camarines Sur remained as the leading cassava producing province, accounting for more than 80 percent of the regional output.
Area harvested to cassava increased by an average of 1.2 percent per year. The province of Camarines Sur increased its area harvested by an average of 3.2 percent per year. In 1996 the average yield of cassava was 7.69 metric tons per hectare. This went down to five metric tons per hectare in 2002.
Cabbage production form 1996 to 2002 declined by an average of 11.3 percent per year (from 2,188 metric tons in 1996 to 699 metric tons in 2002). Albay, Camarines Sur and Sorsogon were the cabbage producing provinces of the region. Albay produced 1,746 metric tons in 1996 but this went down to 311 metric tons in 2002.
Area harvested to cabbage declined by 11 percent per year (from 270 hectares in 1996 to only 91 hectares in 2002). Albay, which used to have 207 hectares devoted to cabbage production had only 33 hectares as of 2002. Average yield of cabbage declined by 0.9 percent per year.
The volume of eggplant production in 1996 was 5,942 metric tons but this went down to 5,255 metric tons in 2002. The average annual decrease was 1.9 percent. Albay, the leading eggplant producing province, yielded 3,701 metric tons in 1996. This declined to 2,414 metric tons in 2002 for a 5.8 percent annual decrease.
Area harvested to eggplant decreased from 1,204 hectares in 1996 to 1,169 hectares in 2002. In Albay, the decrease was 4.3 percent per year while in Camarines Sur it increased by 2.6 percent per year. The average yield of eggplant went down by 1.5 percent per year. From 4.94 metric tons per hectare in 1996 this dropped to 4.5 metric tons per hectare in 2002.
Garlic is grown in the provinces of Albay and Camarines Sur. The volume of garlic production dropped sharply from 397 metric tons in 1996 to only 13 metric tons in 2002. In 1996, Camarines Sur produced 360 metric tons but this dropped to nine metric tons in 2002. Area harvested also decreased from 102 hectares in 1996 to 5 hectares in 2002. Average yield also decreased from 3.89 metric tons per hectare in 1996 to only 2.6 metric tons per hectare in 2002.
Pili production improved by an average of 15.6 percent per annum or from 2,156 metric tons in 1998 to 3,833 metric tons in 2003. Among Bicol’s provinces, Sorsogon and Albay were the leading pili producing provinces. Catanduanes and Camarines Norte had minimal pili production, while Masbate had negligible yield.
Area planted to pili increased by an average of 7 percent per year. Sorsogon had the highest increase in area planted (from 716 hectares in 1998 to 1,133 hectares in 2003). The number of pili-bearing trees increased from 66,567 in 1998 to 98,390 in 2003.
Coffee production from 1997 to 2001 declined by an average of 11.5 percent per year (from 1,534 metric tons in 1997 to 830 metric tons in 2001). Among the provinces, only Sorsogon had an increased volume of production at 46.2 percent per year. Camarines Norte had declined most in production at 23.3 percent per year.
Area harvested for coffee likewise declined by 1.5 percent per year, the most rapid having been registered in Albay at 8.1 percent. In 1997, the total area harvested for coffee was 3,390 hectares, by 2001 this was reduced to 3,189 hectares. Average yield declined by 10.6 percent per annum (from 450 kilograms per hectare in 1997 to 260 kilograms per hectare in 2001). Among the provinces, only Sorsogon registered an increase in average yield (from 200 kilograms per hectare in 1997 to 590 kilograms per hectare in 2001).
Livestock and poultry production areas refer to lands where animals and poultry are raised. Pasture lands, most of which were located in the province of Masbate, dominated the areas devoted to livestock raising in the region (as of 1988 there were 109,355 hectares in Bicol). Most of the livestock produced in the region, however, came from small farms. Animals were raised in coconut lands as pasture areas. Hog raising was also of the backyard type with few commercial growers. Similarly poultry production is with a handful of commercial egg producers located mostly in Baao, Camarines Sur and Ligao City in Albay.
Inland fishing areas of the region consisted of lakes, rivers, streams and creeks. These areas occupied 4,419 hectares, where freshwater fishes like bangus, tilapia and carp were grown. The region’s lakes are mostly located in Camarines Sur, where Bato, Baao and Buhi lakes are found. Tilapia growing in fish cages is dominant in these lakes. Estuarine areas are also present in the region. These are devoted to fishponds where bangus and prawns are produced. As of 1988, there were 10,279 hectares of fishponds in the Bicol Region.
Of the region’s 1.76 million hectares land area, approximately 33.8 percent (595,708.56 hectares) were covered with mineral production sharing agreements (MPSAs), financial and technical assistance agreements (FTAAs), exploration permits (EPs), industrial permits (IPs), and mining lease contracts (MLCs). These are located mostly in the provinces of Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur and Masbate. Approved mining rights which are mineral lands cover 3,306.52 hectares.
Mining activities in the region can be divided into two areas, the non-metallic and metallic sectors. The non-metallic sector is relatively stable. This is due to the availability of processing plants within the country. The metallic sector always experiences fluctuation in prices and its price is dictated by the world demand for metals. Not unless our country will have its own processing and manufacturing plants will the metal prices be stable locally.
Approximately 95 percent of the region had been geologically mapped in a scale of 150,000 wherein potential mineral occurrences had been identified. These known minerals are point locations. Geo-hazard mapping is an on-going activity of the Mines and Geo-Sciences Bureau.
Bicol is rich in human and natural resources and is blessed with the world-famous Mayon volcano, six natural parks, 11 forest reserves, 19 waterfalls, 203 caves, six lakes, a number of hot and cold springs, 14 dormant volcanoes and two active volcanoes. In addition, there are long stretches of fine back, white and cream beaches along coastlines of coastal municipalities for beach lovers and snorkeling.