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Stakeholders assure ample supply of corn for livestock,

by 5m Editor
7 May 2007, at 8:49am

PHILIPPINES - Private stakeholders in the corn industry assured of a stable supply of corn at market levels that would enable hog and poultry growers to maintain the retail prices of meat and chicken at current levels.

In a recent meeting with stakeholders of the industry, Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap said the DA was told that with corn farmers surpassing their dry season production targets during the first quarter of 2007, reports of a supply shortfall of corn are actually misleading, if not baseless.

"There is actually no shortage. The reason for relatively strong corn prices in the local market is the high demand and price abroad, which is a result of factors such as the increasing demand for corn as a biofuel feedstock and the drought in Australia," Yap said.

Representatives of the Philippine Maize Federation Inc. (Philmaize), the country's federation of corn industry stakeholders, told Yap during the meeting that even with yellow corn costing as high as P12 a kilo, they do not expect hog and poultry growers to raise prices, owing to the stable supply of the grain, which is a major component in livestock and poultry feeds.

"With this year's high production and with imports ready to fill-in any projected shortfall during the lean months, we do not see any problem with our corn supply that would adversely affect the livestock and poultry subsectors," said Philmaize vice chairman Isidro Acosta.

Yap himself noted that in Pangasinan alone, corn growers have reported a 10 percent jump in dry season production.

The off-season production project of the DA's Ginintuang Masaganang Ani (GMA) Corn Program encourages farmers to plant during the months of February to April to enable them to harvest during the lean months.

DA Assistant Secretary and GMA Corn Program Director Dennis Araullo said there is a projected seven percent increment in production from January to June this year compared to last year's level for the same period.

At present, corn sells between P11 to P12 a kilo.

Araullo said this price level is "sustainable" and acceptable to corn farmers, who are now encouraged to plant more because of the sustained profits in corn production.

Corn production, which reached 6.08 million metric tons (MT) last year, is targeted to increase to 6.92 million MT in 2007 -- indicating a 13.73 percent growth rate.

Araullo said the DA's off-season production target, covering a total of 132,000 hectares, is expected to yield an additional 350,000 to 400,000 MT of corn this year.

Source: Bayanihan

5m Editor