By Madelaine B. Miraflor
As if the increase in the prices of rice, sugar, and other food commodities are not yet enough, consumers may face bigger headache soon as the lack of feeds in the country is seen to “significantly” drive up the prices of meat and poultry products.
This may get worse as local feed millers are now looking to import way more feedwheat from other countries as a cheaper alternative to local corn.
Feedwheat is an alternative ingredient used for making animal feeds.
A source told reporters on Friday that prices of meat and poultry is expected to increase significantly in the coming days as a result to higher prices of feeds due to the unavailability of locally produced corn.
“There’s a shortage of corn in the country after Mindanao farmers refused to plant the grain,” the source said.
This, according to him, pushed the prices of local corn “beyond reasonable levels.”
“We should be asking the Department of Agriculture (DA) what is happening to the corn industry. They are claiming that we have bumper harvest, but where is the actual production?” he added.
Because of the void in supply, Mindanao hog growers and poultry raisers are now forced to source their corn supply from Luzon, pulling prices even higher.
The typical animal feed used by local hog growers is composed of 50 percent corn, 25 percent soya meal from soybean, and 25 percent polard, plus multivitamins, fish meal and coconut oil. And right now, local feed millers are looking at importing some 2.6 million metric tons (MT) of feedwheat this year to replace corn.
This is going to be significantly higher than the traditional feedwheat import range of 1.5 to 2 million MT.
Roger Navarro, president of Philmaize Federation Inc. (PFI), confirmed the rising feedwheat importation, citing the “relief valve” option of the industry when there is shortage of corn in the domestic market.
“It’s expected since we have a free trade of feedwheat,” he said.
Navarro blame the unfavorable weather condition to the drop in corn production, stressing that the glut in supply will hit the livestock and poultry sectors starting this July.
“Isabela, which should be harvesting their crops, is doing a recropping because they were hit by extreme heat and rains. Bukidnon and Cotabato should be harvesting in August and September, respectively, but planting has also been delayed so the expect a glut in supply this quarter,” he added.
“Worst case scenario, the (livestock and poultry) industries will not have their corn this quarter because production has been delayed, while many farmers also did not plant corn this season,” he added.
Navarro also revealed that local feed millers and livestock sectors have been importing corn from Indonesia this summer to augment the expected shortage of supply this third quarter.
“About 500,000 to 1 million MT of corn will be coming from Indonesia because they have 4 million MT surplus, making their grains cheaper,” he added.
On Thursday, feedmillers auctioned the rights to supply Manila with some 220,000 MT of feedwheat.
Over the past two years, the industry preferred to local corn because of good quality and competitive pricing.
The industry normally books feedwheat imports around January to June, which will arrive at the later part of the year. But with shortage in local corn supply, the source said that it may extend buying of feedwheat to the later part of the year.
At present, corn prices in Bulacan and Isabela are now at P18 to P19 per kilo, from P13 per kilo just two months ago, he added.
Meanwhile, landed price of feedwheat in Bulacan is around P13 to P14.