July 20, 2022

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Support for growers of feed corn seen having follow-on benefits for livestock

SUPPORT for growers of yellow corn, the variety used in animal feed, will be beneficial to downstream users of the grain like the livestock and poultry industries, industry officials said.

“The first thing that needs to be done is to help yellow corn farmers… When you support yellow corn farmers, you support the entire industry, from poultry farmers, livestock farmers — you help everyone, even fishermen and those in aquaculture,” United Broiler Raisers Association President Elias Jose M. Inciong said in an interview on One News.

“We need to help our farmers… President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. must… bring back the confidence of our farmers. If our farmers have confidence, then we have the chance to win. These past years, our farmers have not had the chance to win. That is the sad reality of our situation,” he added.

Federation of Free Farmers Chairman Leonardo Q. Montemayor said economic managers should immerse themselves in agriculture to gain a grasp of the situation, which will guide policymaking.

“The problem is the mindset of some key economic managers and economists. They are too far away in the city. They are far away from the reality of what our everyday Filipinos go through, especially in rural areas. They do not feel the problems of the agriculture sector,” he said.

“This is why they are unable to give the proper attention to the sector. We lack the right policies and budgetary support. When they say that agriculture is useless, this is a result of wrong policymaking,” he added.

The administration should also focus on ramping up production through fertilizer subsidies, according to Mr. Montemayor.

“The priority now is production. For example, providing more fertilizer subsidies because many if not most farmers have really cut down on their fertilizer usage,” he said.

“It’s possible, for example, in the coming harvest period around October or November, (that) the harvest could drop by anywhere from 10% to 15%. That is a big drop. To arrest or minimize that, we need to ramp up the distribution of more subsidies,” he added.

Mr. Marcos has announced that he is considering government-to-government deals with Russia and China to ensure favorable fertilizer pricing.

“It will take a little time for negotiations to (conclude) and for the fertilizer to actually arrive and be available to farmers,” Mr. Montemayor said.

“In fact, we (must first) address the issue of the price of palay (unmilled rice). To me, that’s the most critical. The price and the market for palay should be attractive enough to cover the basic costs of farmers. Otherwise, they are just producing to make themselves lose money,” he added.

Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura President Rosendo O. So said separately that the price of fertilizer was rising even before the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

“Before the war between Russia and Ukraine, the price of fertilizer (rose) because of demand from other countries. Since urea comes from the countries that produce oil, this is (effectively) a byproduct of oil,” he said on BusinessWorld Live.

“What we need now, immediately, is the fertilizer subsidy for the farmers. If we will not give subsidies, we will have high prices of palay… and the price of our rice will not go down,” he added. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson