Senate bill seeks to propel competitiveness of corn industry

By Leonel Abasola

April 2, 2024, 8:49 pm

<p>File photo</p>

File photo

MANILA – Senate Bill (SB) 2625 will seek to propel the competitiveness and expansion of the corn industry in the country, a crucial supplementary measure aligned with the objectives of the Livestock, Poultry and Dairy Industry Development Act.

Bill author Senator Cynthia Villar said on Tuesday that it is imperative for the government to also bolster the corn industry since it plays a pivotal role in sustaining the livestock and poultry industries.

Livestock feed depends on inputs like corn, wheat, and soya, Villar said in her sponsorship of the bill under Committee Report 246, or An Act to Develop the Philippine Corn Industry.

“About 40 percent to 60 percent of animal feed consists of yellow corn,” she added.

The Philippines has a deficit of 3 to 5 million metric tons (MT) of corn annually.

In 2023, the combined corn-livestock-poultry sector contributed 27.17 percent of gross value added in agriculture.

It provided livelihood opportunities to more than 1.28 million corn farmers, 2.8 million livestock and poultry farmers, and thousands of other industry players.

"Yet despite its significance, the yellow corn industry faces its share of challenges that require greater government attention," Villar said.

Villar said SB 2625 provides for the creation of the Corn Competitiveness Enhancement Fund, in addition to the annual regular budget.

For 10 years, the Corn Fund shall consist of an annual PHP3 billion budget, which will come from tariff collection on imported corn, feed wheat, feeds and other products and ingredients for feeds.

"We propose that 80 percent of the Corn Fund shall be utilized for yellow corn, and 20 percent of the fund to white corn development and other indigenous corn varieties," she said.

Villar said the Philippines is still lagging in yellow corn production, ranking 8th among its neighbors in Asia despite an average of 4.2 metric tons per hectare increase from 2018 to 2022. (PNA)