Poultry feed producers in Indonesia have objected to government plans to cease corn imports next year, saying they are concerned that domestic output may not cover their need for the commodity.
“Corn imports cannot be stopped at all because we’re often running out of corn, mostly during the non-harvest season,” an executive of the Feed Producers Association, of GMPT, said.
Poultry feed in Indonesia contains around 50% corn, making it the industry’s major raw material. Indonesia produces about 8 million tonnes (mt) of poultry feed annually.
Based on government data, national output of dried corn kernels was estimated at 15.9 mtfor this year, while domestic demand was projected to be 13 mt.
The feed industry requires 4 mt a year. Outside of the harvest season, however, producers have been hampered by a lack of stock.
Indonesia imported 414,000 tonnes of corn for poultry feed in 2007, down from imports of 1.6 mt in 2006.
Better harvest management
Thomas Effendy, vice president of PT Charoen Pokphand Indonesia Tbk, said that good post-harvest management was needed before Indonesia could halt corn imports.
He explained that corn had to be dried properly with machines after it was harvested, otherwise the quality of the stock would be poor.
At present, most corn farmers dry their crops in the traditional way: by laying it out under the sun. “Good corn for feed contains 16% water at the most. Sun-dried corn has a high water content and cannot be stored for long periods of time,” Effendy said.
During harvest time, farmers must sell all their corn because it will spoil, requiring feed producers to import the commodity during the rest of the year.
Effendy said that if the government was planning to stop imports, it must provide corn dryer machines to farmers to allow them to preserve their crop for feed producers.
The government said that corn imports would be halted this year because output was estimated to meet domestic demand. It forecast a dried corn output level of 18 mt for 2009, up 13% from 2008.