May 12, 2020


Philippine corn output falls to four-year low



In the first quarter of the year, Philippine corn output dropped by 3.4% to 2.34 million tonnes, from last year's 2.42 million tonnes, as low farm-gate prices discouraged farmers from planting more corn, reported BusinessMirror.


Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data obtained by the BusinessMirror showed that corn production in the January-to-March period contracted by 82,169.71 tonnes.


Historical PSA data also showed that this is the lowest first quarter corn output in four years since the 1.92 million tonnes recorded volume in the January-to-March period of 2016.


The decline in output was also steeper than the 1.1% reduction projected by the PSA in March.


PSA data showed that the total value of corn output, at current prices, declined by 15% to PHP28.565 billion, from last year's PHP33.593 billion.


At constant prices, value of corn production fell 3.4% to PHP32.451 billion, from PHP33.589 billion recorded last year, according to PSA data.


Philippine Maize Federation Inc. President Roger V. Navarro said low farm-gate prices discouraged farmers from planting corn.


"Farm-gate prices were really bad during harvest," stated Navarro.


The average farm-gate price of yellow corn in the first quarter declined 11.6% to PHP12.27 per kilogramme, from last year's PHP13.88 per kg, PSA data analysed by the BusinessMirror showed. Also, the average quotation for white corn fell 5% to PHP13.87 per kg from PHP14.6 per kg.


"This year I believe corn production would decline as the lack of rain would delay planting. However, the reduction in output would be mitigated by lower demand by poultry and hog sectors due to dampened demand for meat products caused by the coronavirus disease 2019 [COVID-19]," said Navarro.


Nonetheless, Navarro said average farm-gate prices for both yellow corn and white corn have been going up as the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the global supply chain and deterred traders from importing feed substitutes.


"Yellow corn is now priced PHP16 per kg while white corn are now sold at about PHP18 per kg to PHP19 per kg, from PHP12 per kg," he said.


In March, the PSA projected that corn output in the first quarter would decline due to the contraction in harvest area.


"Harvest area may reduce to 698,970 hectares, from 706,260 hectares in 2019," it said.


The PSA reported that corn production last year rose by 2.7% to 7.978 million tonnes, from 7.771 million tonnes recorded in 2018.