August 25, 2003



Philippines Won't Increase Corn Imports Despite New Crop Damage



The Philippine Department of Agriculture said Monday there isn't a need for additional corn imports even as an estimated 33,000 metric tons of the grain were lost to typhoon Krovanh.


"It won't really affect (import volume) because we are seeing good yields in Visayas and Mindanao," Agriculture Secretary Luis Lorenzo told a news conference.


Typhoon Krovanh, which hit grain-producing provinces in northern Luzon over the weekend, damaged nearly 10,000 hectares of corn plantations.


Lorenzo said the National Food Authority, a state-owned grains trading firm, should be ready to hold a buy tender for 150,000 tons of corn within the next two weeks. The imports should arrive in the country before the end of

October, he added.


The President, on recommendation of the agriculture department, had earlier approved the importation of 150,000 tons of corn although local corn end users wanted the NFA to import as much as 400,000 tons on their behalf due to crop damages wrought by typhoon Imbudo which hit the country in July.


But Agriculture Assistant Secretary Segfredo Serrano said the import volume was limited to 150,000 tons to deter a price fall in the local market, thus protecting the corn farmers.


"Local end users can always import corn substitutes," Serrano told Dow Jones Newswires.


Corn and its substitutes are a major feed ingredient for the livestock and poultry industries.