Corn industry roadmap expected this month

THE CORN industry development roadmap is expected to be completed this month, with the industry’s critical role in providing feed for farm animals to be the focus, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said.

Agriculture Assistant Secretary Liza G. Battad said the plan is still subject to further consultations.

“We hope it will be completed and approved on or before the end of September 2021,” she said, adding that the consultations are being carried out by the corn industry roadmap development team, which is composed of technical experts from academic institutions as well as members of the industry, including the Philippine Maize Federation, Inc. (PhilMaize), which represents corn farmers’ groups,” Ms. Battad said in a statement over the weekend.

Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar said the development roadmap will also deal with mechanizing farm operations to increase production, and the construction of postharvest facilities to reduce losses.   

 “The corn sector, being a major input to the poultry and swine industries, should be given more importance and (subject to long-term planning) to ensure its sustained contribution to the meat value chain and, in general, to the Philippine food systems,” Mr. Dar said.

The ultimate targets are “increased average yield per hectare, and cost-efficiencies in the corn-feed-meat value chain, making it more competitive,” he added.   

Milo D. Delos Reyes, DA corn program director, said the basis for the revised roadmap will be the current regulatory framework for the corn industry and previous government initiatives.

“One of the key features that will be considered in the new roadmap will be the need for the private sector, like seed producers, feed millers, and commercial feed manufacturers to engage in more joint ventures or direct marketing linkages with organized corn farmers’ cooperatives and associations,” Mr. Delos Reyes said.

Mr. Delos Reyes said the DA will focus on improving the output of major corn-producing areas such as the Cagayan Valley region, Northern Mindanao region, and Soccsksargen (South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, and General Santos), and providing postharvest facilities to clustered farms.   

“The consultations with the private sector, corn farmers and processors, other industry stakeholders, and consumers is undertaken to craft an industry roadmap over the short-term (2021-2025), medium-term, (2025-2030), and long-term (2030-2040),” Mr. Delos Reyes said.

According to Mr. Delos Reyes, the country’s current national average yield of yellow corn is at 4.18 metric tons per hectare (MT/ha).

However, he said the total average yield will drop to 3.18 MT/ha if combined with white corn, while the average yield of hybrid corn is at least 8 MT/ha. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave