PhilMaize and Pafmi push for better data filing system on supply, demand for corn

Corn growers and feed millers are urging the government to establish a sound data system that would show country’s supply and demand for these commodities and help industries in making wise production and business decisions.

The Philippine Maize Federation Inc. (PhilMaize) and the Philippine Association of Feed Millers Inc. (Pafmi) said the lack of data on the country’s corn supply and demand makes it hard for them to have better coordination.

A sound data system may also avert displacements of local corn production due to imports and glut, which all result in decline in farm-gate prices of the crop, according to industry players.

For one, Pafmi President Stephanie Nicole S. Garcia said the government should improve its data on corn production forecasts so that feed millers would have a clearer picture of the upcoming harvest and domestic supply.

Garcia added that the government does not even have data on the country’s total corn demand, particularly its breakdown of specific users, which could greatly help in positioning supply and stocks.

“Point to me where the corn is but you need to help us on the logistics side. Where it is planted and how much is planted?” she told the BusinessMirror in a recent interview.

“There should be timely data on the planting intentions by farmers. Do not show it to me three months after,” she added.

Garcia explained that feed millers assess their raw material requirements quarters ahead to ensure efficiency and continuous production of products for the livestock and poultry sectors.

For example, feed millers change their formulation according to the availability of corn stocks locally to have a uniform product formula throughout a calendar year to ensure efficiency of their production line and sufficiency of feed products, Garcia explained.

This is where reliability of raw materials comes in, Garcia pointed out imported feed wheat has the advantage of reliability in terms of supply and quality over local corn.

“We are hedging. We take that risk based on whatever data we see or the industry gives us,” she said.

If there is a sound available data on the estimated corn output and supply, then feed millers would easily be able to calibrate their feed imports, since they only import the shortfall of domestic supply plus their buffer stock, she added.

Pafmi estimates that the country’s feed milling industry requires a total of 10 million metric tons (MMT) of yellow corn annually.

PhilMaize President Roger V. Navarro said the having a sound data system is more crucial than ever, especially during crises like the on-going Covid-19 pandemic.

Timely and good data would guide farmers in their planting intentions and would be able help farmers determine market availability for their crops, Navarro said.

“The government should provide data to assist poor farmers in making decisions for their planting intentions,” Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food Inc. President Danilo V. Fausto told the BusinessMirror.

Nonetheless, in a news statement issued on Tuesday, Garcia said Pafmi would be buying “more” local corn following reports of a “bumper crop” from the on-going harvest. Reports of “bumper crop” harvest was confirmed by Navarro, Garcia added.

“Pafmi’s goal is to fuel the local economy by producing locally and buying feed inputs from local farmers. Pafmi encourages other feed millers and manufacturers to pursue buying inputs from local producers,” she said.

Corn takes up over 50 percent of the local feed formulation, according to Pafmi. 

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