CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – In Northern Mindanao, the agriculture department together with the corn stakeholders and the provincial agriculture’s office of Bukidnon convened to tackle the low buying price of yellow corn on Friday, September 11.

Yellow corn buying price ranges from P9 to P11 per kilo, affecting the corn farmers in the region.

Engr. Alson Quimba, Bukidnon provincial agriculturist said, their province alone has 118,643 hectares of corn with a projected harvest of 382,000 metric tons from September to December based on the planted area with an average yield of 4.7 metric tons per hectare.

Carlota S. Madriaga, regional technical director for operations of DA-RFO 10 said, the dialogue is an avenue to discuss urgent solutions in addressing the concerns of corn farmers, aside from tracing the cause of low buying price.

Madriaga reported, imported feed wheat for Northern Mindanao is higher in the third quarter of 2019, compared to 1.57 MT of the same period this year.

No feed wheat importation for the months of August and September this year based on the report of the DA-Bureau of Plant Industry- Plant Quarantine Services in Region 10 (DA-BPI-PQS 10).

Feed wheat importation is higher in the first semester and third quarter of 2019 at 9.43 MT, while 9.9 MT of the same period this year.

Meanwhile, corn importation for the region in 2019 reaches to 87.742 MT from January to September, while this year’s corn importation of the same period is at 56.28 MT, mostly coming from Myanmar, USA, Vietnam, and India.

There is no imported corn for Northern Mindanao in September.

As part of the marketing assistance provided to the corn farmers, the DA 10 has linked the Mantibugao Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Cooperative (MARBC) in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon to Pilmico Foods Corporation, and forged a tripartite agreement for an inclusive corn sourcing project since CY 2018.

Pilmico sourced a part of its corn requirements for its animal feeds business from the coop with a contract of 500 MT per week at a price ranging from P15-17 per kilo.

Some corn clusters in other areas in Bukidnon were assisted by MARBC to sell their corn produce to Pilmico.

Aside from Pilmico, DA-RFO 10 also linked the corn clusters to other feed millers which include San Miguel Corp., Anakciano Feedmill, CJ Philippines, and M. Montesclaros Farms Inc. with a buying price ranging from P12 to P14 per kilo.

Roderico R. Bioco of the Philippine Maize Federation, Inc. (PhilMaize) recommended the following to help the corn industry sector in the country: 1. the government should allow them to import corn with free tariff; 2. support for the guaranteed price of corn at P13.50 per kilo as mandated in the magna carta of small farmers or RA 7607; 3. allow NFA to procure corn in order to stabilize the market price; and, 4. allow corn export during harvest season to stabilize and prevent declines in corn farm gate prices.

Earlier, the Regional Agricultural and Fishery Council (RAFC-10) passed a resolution (no. 02, series of 2020) recommending to the DA, through the PCAF to further review and consider a tariff modification in support of the corn industry sector.

The resolution was endorsed to the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries (PCAF) – National Banner Program Committees for rice, poultry, livestock, and feed crops prior to its endorsement to the Tariff Commission and Department of Finance for consideration.

Bioco recommended, the tariff collected on imported corn should be returned to the farmers for the provision of funds, similar to rice on the implementation of rice tariffication law.

The group agreed, with DA as the lead to encourage local government units to access financial assistance from Land Bank of the Philippines to procure the produce of the farmers.

In DA-RFO 10’s Action Plan for Drop of Corn Price, Regional Executive Director Carlene C. Collado of DA-RFO 10, supported the recommendation of PhilMaize for the National Food Authority (NFA) to buy corn in helping stabilize current prices in the market.

Also, the DA-RFO 10 reinforced for the export of corn and postponing on the issuance of import permits during peak harvest so that farmers will not be affected.

On Tuesday, September 15, the DA-RFO 10 conducted a market matching, linking corn farm clusters in Bukidnon to various institutional buyers.

Feed millers presented their volume and accreditation requirements, mode of payment, and buying price.

Panchito A. Teruel, Manager of Bukidnon Farmers Inc. (BFI) Employees Agrarian Reform Coop (BEFCO) said, “We consolidate corn produce to help other corn farmers in Southern parts of Bukidnon. Government intervention is important to address the problem. This market matching would greatly help.”

BEFCO of Maray-Maray, Don Carlos, Bukidnon, is a consolidator of 13 cooperatives covering the municipalities of Don Carlos, Quezon, Kitaotao, Kibawe, Damulog and Kadingilan in Bukidnon.#