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Metro Opinion

Wanting in Feeds

account_balanceMetro Opinion account_circleLeigh Bellosillo chat_bubble_outline0 Comments

We have never been wanting of sad, bad news.

From ASF (African Swine Flu), now we’re facing another possible shortage in pork and chicken supply. What’s going on?

Talks around town and even in commodity markets abroad point towards to a shortage in corn production worldwide that is threatening the country’s supply of feed mix for the livestock sector.

The deficiency has riled-up pig and chicken growers, who have been wanting feeds to prepare their livestock for higher demands going towards the holiday season.

Just like the recent hike in suggested retail prices of some grocery items, the growers may have to take the same path to earn some margins. The reason, prices of feed mixes have reportedly been on the rise.

Local yellow corn prices, for instance, went up to P24 per kilo, very much following world prices for corn. The tight global supply of corn has very much weighed in on the record-high prices, last experienced a decade ago.

Brazil, the third largest supplier of yellow corn in the world, is expecting crop harvests at significantly lower volumes. Even the US, which is the world’s largest exporter of yellow corn, is having a hard time filling in for the supply gap.

Add to this is the voracious appetite of China for the product. China is said to be gobbling up all the available yellow corn from every possible exporter, including Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which in turn created a shortage in the region.

This is bad news for the country because there’s no available corn that can be imported from Vietnam and Indonesia to make up for the shortfall of local production. The series of weather disturbance is not helping any.

Our importers and feed millers are considering buying from outside ASEAN, but the tariff rates are too high at 35 percent versus five percent for corn from the ASEAN economies.

The Department of Agriculture must do its mandate, and that is to assist importers and feed millers to address this emerging problem. The way I understand the issue is that if the government does not allow lower tariffs on imported corn, pig and chicken growers are worried they won’t be able to avoid increasing their current prices for long.

Bringing down the 35 percent tariff and allowing corn imports from the US will greatly help our livestock growers, something that they yearn for in this period of great uncertainty.

Pig and chicken growers had been complaining about the government’s decision to import livestock to keep local prices low, and likewise, manage inflation. But with the long-term view that the price of corn, as well as the other ingredients for feed mixes, will continue to be on the high side well into 2022, imported pork and chicken prices will likely be higher for the longer term.

This issue touches the heart of each one us and could a steaming topic of debate this coming election.

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