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Historic First: Philippines to start exporting corn to neighboring countries this year

Historic first under Duterte Presidency


By Manny Piñol - Originally posted on Sec. Manny Piñol's Facebook page.
For the first time in history, the Philippines is ready to export corn to neighboring countries in the region as corn harvests this year will breach the 5.6-million tons domestic requirement.

Yesterday, National Corn Program coordinator, Asst. Secretary Federico Laciste, reported that in spite of the series of natural calamities which hit the country recently, including the 7-month El Niño, yellow and white corn harvest for 2017 is expected to hit 8.1-million metric tons.
The production of Cassava, which is lumped with corn in the animal feeds category, is seen to reach 570,000 metric tons and this will contribute further in stabilising the corn and animal feeds supply in the Philippines.

This is the first time that the Philippines will achieve a 120% corn sufficiency.

For 2016, in spite of the 7-month El Niño which ravaged the country's agricultural areas, the country posted a 7.5-million metric ton harvest for both yellow and white corn while Cassava production was at 536,000 metric tons.

Corn production is expected to be boosted further with the approval and adoption yesterday of the Solar-Powered Irrigation System based on the technical validation and recommendation of the Dept. of Agriculture's Central Agriculture and Fisheries Engineering Division (CAFED).

In yesterday's meeting which was held at the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) compound in Malate, Manila and attended by top officials of the Dept. of Agriculture, the adoption of drip irrigation using the Solar-Powered Irrigation System and the use of hybrid corn seeds were identified as priority measures in the National Corn Program.

Irrigating corn fields, which is already being done in parts of Central Luzon, Cagayan Valley and Ilocos Region has proven to tremendously boost production per hectare which now has a national average of 4.7-metric tons per harvest.

In Central Luzon Region, Regional Director Andrew Villacorta reported yesterday that the highest harvest posted in an irrigated corn field was an astounding 15 metric tons, which is higher by 10 tons over the national average production.

The country's corn productivity, however, is affected by the very low prices of corn during harvest season owing mainly to the lack of post-harvest facilities like dryers.

The very low prices have dampened farmers' interest in corn farming and affected the growth of the sector.

The export of corn to such countries as Malaysia, Taiwan and South Korea could result in better prices for yellow corn and is expected to encourage farmers to plant more.

On Monday, during the Cabinet meeting, I will officially ask President Rody Duterte to order the National Food Authority (NFA), which is currently under the Office of the President, to amend the guideline which prohibits the export of corn unless the country achieves a 200% sufficiency.

Laciste calls this provision regulating the export of corn, including rice, "unfair" and "unjust" to the Filipino farmers because the entry of imported corn to the country has been liberalised.

Also yesterday, I directed the National Rice and Corn Program officials to focus their financial resources on providing farmers with post harvest facilities, including harvesters and dryers.

With the use of hybrid corn seeds, sufficient fertilisers, solar-powered irrigation system and efficient post-harvest facilities, the country's corn production could double during the next five years of the Duterte Presidency.

#Changeishere! #PresRodyCares! #DuterteDelivers!
#CornSufficiencyAchieved! #SolarIrrigationRocks!

(First two photos show officials of the Dept. of Agriculture in yesterday's meeting of the National Rice and Corn Program while the second two photos downloaded from Agricultural websites show Filipino farmers harvesting corn the traditional way. John Pagaduan)

Historic First: Philippines to start exporting corn to neighboring countries this year Historic First: Philippines to start exporting corn to neighboring countries this year Reviewed by Raelyn Luchansky on 2:50:00 AM Rating: 5

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