DA: Philippine Corn production to reach 8.2 million MT this year – Exporting 100,000 MT to Korea

Despite losses from typhoons, corn production is expected to reach a record 8.2 million metric tons this year, with at least 150,000 MT in surplus, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said Tuesday.

Third quarter corn production is expected at 2.6 million MT, up from 2.4 million MT in the same period last year, Agriculture Assistant Secretary and National Corn Program Coordinator Edilberto de Luna told reporters in a briefing.

He said actual production this year is expected to reach 8.2 million MT, up 10 percent from 7.408 million MT in 2012, which will make the Philippine self-sufficient in corn by year-end with a surplus estimated between 150,000 MT and 200,000 MT.

In the first half, De Luna said corn harvests reached 4.4 million MT.

Preliminary data from the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics showed corn output was 3.32 million MT in January to June.

"Barring further calamity, we are confident we will be able to reach 8.2 million MT," he said in a phone interview with GMA News Online.

He said this is because of quality seeds and extension activities – which include training and delivery of technology, investments in mechanization and improvement of harvest facilities to stem losses.

Shipping to South Korea

In August, typhoons Labuyo and Maring left 99,125 hectares of corn farms damaged, with losses reaching 203,319 MT valued at P2.13 billion.

The corn sector lost an another 12 MT worth P372,600, with seven hectares of corn crops damaged beyond recovery during Typhoon Odette in September.

Out of the surplus corn, producers, particularly the Philippine Maize Federation Inc. (PhilMaize), is planning to export 100,000 MT.

"We can recommend this volume to the NFA (National Food Authority) Council because this is the volume that can be produced through proper post-harvest drying," De Luna said.

PhilMaize president Roger Navarro said they are waiting for the NFA Council to approve their application to ship quality corn to interested foreign buyers. The NFA Council is still deliberating on the petition.

De Luna said surplus corn is to be shipped to South Korea.

"We are negotiating with South Korea on the requirements. We are also eyeing Malaysia for exports but South Korea is the priority," the Agriculture official added.

Next year, the Agriculture Department expects corn production to reach between 8.4 million MT and 8.7 million MT.

The DA-National Corn Program is asking for a budget of P1.797 billion next year, up 19 percent from P1.5 billion this year.

"The additional production would come from additional areas, which are coconut areas totaling 300,000 hectares of coconut areas that can be planted with corn," De Luna said.

The DA National Corn Program is partnering with the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) to implement the inter-cropping initiative.

The DA is also encouraging more private sector investments in

post harvest facilities to increase the percentage of produce covered by proper post-harvest drying.

Post-harvest losses were reduced to 12.9 percent in 2012 from 15 percent in 2011 as a result of investments in drying and processing facilities.

By 2014, the DA targets to reduce it further to 9 percent. – VS, GMA News

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