Imports push corn prices

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    The Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food Inc. (PCAFI) said the importation of feed wheat has led to a P3 drop in the farmgate price of local corn.

    The group supports the Philippine Maize Federation Inc. in denouncing the feed millers group’s recent importation of 81,000 metric tons (MT) of feed wheat from Australia which will be delivered during the harvest season of corn.

    The move has further brought down the price of corn to P12 per kilogram (kg.) against estimates of P15 per kg.

    “Government should immediately initiate a program to buy the corn being harvested at a viable price from the farmers for storage as buffer stock to support future demand during non-harvest season,” said PCAFI president Danilo Fausto.

    Fausto cited a study of the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) which said local corn price is significantly and adversely affected by feed wheat imports which is more pronounced during the third quarter, the peak of local harvest

    A PCC-commissioned study carried out by the Asian Social Project Services Inc. concluded local farm gate prices of corn go down even if international market prices are high due to the lack of storage capacity when import delivery coincides with local harvest.

    The study added lower price and income dampens the interest and capacity of farmers to plant in the next season which in turn prompts feed millers to import more. This has been the cycle in the industry.

    Fausto said the Bayanihan 2 must also help corn farmers in combatting the effects of fall army worm invasion on their crops.

    “Corn is one of our major crops where millions of our farmers depend on for their livelihood. It represents around 10 percent of total crop production. Government should protect our corn farmers especially during this time of crisis to allow them to survive.

    Importation of corn substitutes such as feed wheat should be regulated when corn is being harvested,” Fausto said.

    Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed farmgate price of yellow corn is at P12.94 per kg. as of August 15, 6 percent lower from P13.76 per kg. in the same month year ago. Farmgate price of white corn is at P14.27 per kg., down 7 percent lower from P15.40 per kg in 2019.