Private stakeholders in the Philippine corn industry
assured of a stable supply of corn at market levels, enabling poultry and pig
farmers to maintain the retail prices of chicken at current levels.
According to Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap
, with corn farmers
surpassing their dry season production targets during the first quarter of 2007,
reports of a supply shortfall of corn are misleading.
"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.
Unlikely that poultry growers raise prices
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 (€0.19) a kilo, they do not
expect poultry or hog growers to raise prices, owing to the stable supply of the
grain, which is a major component in livestock 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 Isidro Acosta, Philmaize vice chairman.
Sustainable price level
At present, corn sells between P11 -12 (€0.17 - 0.19) per kg. DA Assistant
Secretary and GMA Corn Programme Director Dennis 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 mt in 2006, is targeted to
increase to 6.92 million mt in 2007 - a 13.73% growth rate.
Araullo said the
DA's off-season production target, covering a total of 132,000 ha, is expected
to yield an additional 350,000 to 400,000 mt of corn this year.