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Corn producers doubtful on 8-M MT output target

Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - October 5, 2017 - 4:00pm

MANILA, Philippines — Local corn production may not hit the eight million metric ton (MT) target for the year amid unstable prices in the market.

The Philippine Maize Federation Inc. (PhilMaize) said it is not optimistic the forecast of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) of eight million MT will be met, saying it may be lower by at least five percent.

“It’s not achievable. The best maybe something around 7.6 million MT,” PhilMaize president Roger Navarro said.

“Some farmers have not planted and just converted their plantation into other crops like pineapple and cacao because of the current low prices,” he added.

However, the 7.6 million MT is still a little higher than the 7.2 million MT recorded in 2016.

Prices have slumped to a low of P11 per kilogram in most areas nationwide.

“There was a carry-over during the last harvest since prices are also lower last time, plus there was the fear of bird flu which also affected the broilers. There was also the entry of about two million MT of feed wheat,” Navarro said.

The Philippines produces mostly yellow corn, where 70 percent goes to feed mills, while the 30 percent are used for food, such as oil and starch, among others.

Navarro said the lower price is still expected to continue until next year.

“I hope that it is short lived but the way we are seeing it, it will continue until the first quarter of next year,” he added.

For the last quarter of 2017, production and harvest area may drop by two percent and three percent, respectively.

Cagayan Valley, Western Visayas and ARMM may substantial decrements in production during the period due to movement of harvest, shift in planting to rice, as well as the peace and order situation in Mindanao.

Meanwhile, corn stock inventory stood at 696,460 MT as of end-August, up by more than 100 percent from 40,140 MT year-on-year.

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