DA to probe high prices of GMO corn

By Lilybeth Ison

March 13, 2019, 9:07 pm

MANILA -- Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel "Manny" Piñol has ordered an investigation in the reportedly high prices of hybrid corn seeds in the country.

"I have ordered to investigate on the prices of hybrid corn seeds in other countries because the multi-national companies handling hybrid corn seeds in the Philippines -- particularly the GMO (genetically modified organism) -- are selling it at a very high price right now," Piñol said in a press briefing on Tuesday.

He said these multi-national companies are allegedly selling hybrid corn seeds to farmers who have to shell out PHP12,000 per hectare.

"It seems there is connivance between these multi-national companies on the prices of hybrid corn seeds as they offer the same," Piñol said in Filipino.

"We will check. They (multi-national companies) will hear from me and we will take legal action. The moment we were able to establish that the selling price of high hybrid corn is really high and they monopolized the market, we will file charges against them," he added.

Piñol said the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) has the mandate to sanction erring multi-national companies.

The use of hybrid corn seeds is growing fast and has led the country to 100-percent self-sufficiency in corn.

The October-December 2018 corn production at 1.81 million metric tons, was higher by 10.8 percent than the 2017 level of 1.63 million metric tons.

Harvest area increased to 612,000 hectares from previous year’s record of 571,000 hectares. Yield per hectare improved from 2.85 metric tons to 2.95 metric tons or by 3.5 percent.

Production for January-December 2018 at 7.77 million metric tons, decreased by 1.8 percent from the 7.92 million metric tons output in 2017.

Harvest area and yield also declined to 2.51 million hectares and 3.09 metric tons per hectare, respectively, from their levels in the previous year.

Based on standing crop, corn production from January to March 2019 may increase from the previous year’s level of 2.48 million metric tons. (PNA)