Thursday, August 30, 2012

PH eyes export of yellow corn to drought-hit US

The Philippines is studying the possibility of exporting yellow corn this year to take advantage of high grain prices brought about by the worst drought in US history, the Department of Agriculture said on Wednesday.

Assistant Secretary Edilberto de Luna, who is also National Corn Program director, told reporters that an interagency committee is reviewing the appeal of the Philippine Maize Federation Inc. for the commercial export of corn.

“Within the next two weeks, the committee expects to complete the final recommendation to the National Food Authority Council,” de Luna said.

The committee – composed of the NFA Council, hog growers, poultry raisers and other industry stakeholders – is tasked to come out with the final volume for the corn exports.

The Philippines expects corn production to reach a record-high of 7.819 million metric tons this year and about 8.450 million by 2013. By next year, the DA expects the country to have a surplus of 149,000 metric tons.

“We’re advised by Secretary [Proceso] Alcala not to wait for the suplus. He said that we need to start exporting corn, even in small amount, for us to test the international market,” de Luna said.

Roger Navarro, Philmaize president, said the group is in talks with Taiwan and Korea for possible shipments to those countries as well.

Navarro said exports would not result in a shortage in the local market since the 1.4 million metric tons of feedwheat, imported earlier by feed millers, will be enough to cover the requirement for this year.

“International corn price will increase due to drought experienced by US, should this scenario prevail then we can have export opportunities,” he said.

Export restriction on corn products, Navarro said, runs against the open market system as agreed under the World Trade Organization.

De Luna said farmers and traders may start exporting corn and corn grits while they await the NFA Council's approval of the total volume that can be shipped overseas,

Under an existing resolution, the NFA administrator is authorized to issue transport permits for locally produced corn for research, market testing and experimentation.

De Luna said the resolution allows individual farmers, traders, and cooperatives to export as much as 100 metric tons of corn at any given time.

“This will be a good way to test our exports capability as we inch closer to self-sufficiency by next year,” he added.-Interaksyon (August 29, 2012 2:50PM)

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