Corn farmers recorded a staggering revenue loss of about P10 billion due low farm-gate prices, prompting the filing of a House Resolution seeking to junk the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) proposal to temporarily lower import tariff on the main staple.
In a statement, a group of corn farmers welcomed Cagayan de Oro Representative Rufus Rodriguez’s issuance of House Resolution 2289 with the pleadings of the Philippine Maize Federation Inc. (Philmaize) and the United Broilers and Raisers Association (UBRA).
The resolution, directed as a petition to the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) and the Tariff Commission, pointed out that the abundance of corn production did not increase the income of farmers, showing the “incompetence of the DA in promoting and managing our own agricultural resources”.
DA just created a Technical Working Group to study lowering of corn import duties in order to bring down animal feeds and livestock and poultry prices.
Right now, the country's corn tariff is pegged at 5 percent if importation is within the Asean Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA). It is slapped with a 35 percent duty within Minimum Access Volume (MAV) importation and 50 percent outside MAV.
Philmaize has debunked the assumption that feed prices will go down given lower corn prices, consequently pulling down livestock and poultry prices.
The group further stated that these corn prices do not have direct and immediate correlation to the decrease of feeds and meat price.
“In the last two years, corn prices plunged to P9 per kilogram to 8/kg, but there was no reduction in the price of feed and meat. Rather, it is the huge importation of feed wheat and corn that caused the fall in local corn prices to its lowest level. This is based on a study of the Philippine Competition Commission,” the group said.
On the contrary, Philmaize attributed the fall of local corn price to the uncontrolled, unabated and uncalibrated large arrivals of feed wheat and imported corn during the wet season harvest. This displaced local corn harvest from getting into warehouses and silos of the livestock and feed mill sector.
Corn prices have recently plunged by a hefty 33 percent to P8/kg to P9/kg, far below the P13.25/kg support price established by the National Food Authority (NFA).
This, according to Philmaize, already resulted in the economic loss at P10 billion in revenue experienced by farmers.
For his part, UBRA President Jose Elias Inciong stressed that the price of poultry and livestock are “not dependent on the rate of corn tariffs but on the highly in-demand dynamics of the commodities.”
Moreover, even the Bayanihan sa Agrikultura admitted a low import duty on corn does not guarantee significant reduction in the price of livestock and poultry.