Feed millers push for corn development program
The Philippine Association of Feed Millers Inc. (Pafmi) renewed its calls for the implementation of an industry-based corn farming development program.
Pafmi, a group composed of more than 30 feed milling companies nationwide, said crafting a long-term development blueprint for the local corn industry “should provide an impetus to modernize corn farming and put in place much-needed harvest and post-harvest infrastructure.”
“A national corn development program that encompasses the whole value chain starting from the farm until the produce reaches the market and industrial users will allow the country to reduce its dependence on imports,” the group said in a statement.
Pafmi recalled that a yellow corn development roadmap had been crafted two years ago, wherein stakeholders recognized the need for an efficient and stable supply chain of industry inputs like seeds, fertilizer and other inputs; quality corn in efficient production systems for food, feeds and industrial uses by empowered, enterprise-oriented farmers amid climate change challenges; effective post-harvest systems for quality corn, reduced cost and losses; and efficient use systems of corn in appropriate scales of operation and marketing infrastructure and systems.
They also recommended clustering and consolidation of corn farms to achieve economies of scale in production and post-harvest linkages; pursuing science-/data-based policy decision-making and data collection/analytics; improving vertical integration of yellow corn producers to the livestock and poultry industry and enhancing short-term corn availability to support value chains.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) earlier mentioned the country’s corn sufficiency level stood at only 59 percent in 2022 and the country continued to rely on importation to fill the supply gap. As such, Pafmi noted that imported corn volumes have continued to rise over the last decade.
“This supply sufficiency gap between imported and local corn needs to be substantially trimmed to single digits to insulate the country from the adverse effects of any tight global supply of grains, which ultimately impinges on the nation’s food security and leaves the country vulnerable to global supply imbalances,” it added.
Pafmi cited the National Corn Program’s 2022-2023 Corn Supply Outlook that projected local corn output for feeds would reach 7.56 million metric tons (MT) this year, of which 6.35 million MT would go to animal feed mix. According to them, domestic production would still not suffice even without any typhoons that could affect harvest.
Recently, the DA issued a circular to roll out the Corn Production Enhancement Project aimed at increasing the yield per hectare of yellow and white corn by 3 percent annually, improving the income of corn farmers and boosting the supply of yellow and white corn both for domestic consumption and feed manufacturing.
This initiative, the agency said, would be implemented on the first cropping of crop year 2023, prioritizing areas such as new/idle lands, crop/varietal shifting and with average grain yield lower than 4.20 MT per hectare and 2.50 MT/ha for yellow and white, respectively.
Figures from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that the country’s corn production had dropped by 4.7 percent to 2.03 million MT as of November last year. Further, it said the harvest area may decline to 627,740 hectares but the yield per hectare may increase to 3.23 MT.
Pafmi made the pronouncement as President Marcos signed Executive Order No. 3 that retained the most favored nation (MFN) rate on corn at 5 percent for in-quota and 15 percent for out-quota volume until end-December.
Corn, among the essential crops planted in almost all parts of the Philippines, is used as an ingredient for animal feeds and several other industrial uses.
–Jordeene B. Lagare
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