LEGAZPI CITY: The corn industry in the country is on the verge of demise.
This gloomy scenario will trigger soaring prices of poultry, meat products and other prime commodities in the country if the government will not take action immediately, said engineer Roger Navarro, the president of PhilMaize Federation Inc.
“The corn industry throughout the country is dying because of lack of support from the government for corn growers,” Navarro added.
Corn is the primary feed for livestock and poultry.
Unfortunately, according to Navarro, the government neglected the livestock and poultry industry.
The alleged lack of government financial support for corn growers was one of the critical issues discussed in the recently concluded 6th Philippine National Corn Congress in Albay.
“The government allocated very small amounts for corn production. This is the primary reason why we are importing corn, because of lack of supply since last year. If the Asean Free Trade Agreement will be fully implemented by 2010, our corn industry will be adversely affected,” Navarro pointed out.
He said that corn production is also affected by climate change.
“The ongoing climatic change also affects corn production in the country because the corn growers could no longer predict the weather patterns as to the best time to plant corn. Planting pattern affects production,” he said.
Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero told The Manila Times that the government should allocate P30 billion for corn production to bridge the gap.
Also unfortunately, according to Escudero, President Gloria Arroyo failed to implement safety measures to protect corn growers from the damaging effects of trade liberalization.
Gov. Joey Salceda of Albay, the host of the congress and an economic adviser of President Arroyo, said that he would push for additional financial assistance to address funding discrepancies in the rice and corn budgets of the Department of Agriculture (DA).
Salceda pointed out that while the country produces 10.5 million metric tons of rice a year and gets P42-billion funding, the corn sector yields 7.5 million metric tons a year with a measly P600-million budget.
Navarro said that the discrepancy issues have also been discussed to come up with a “win-win” solution to address the corn-production deficit in the country.
The National Corn Congress discussed the current state of corn industry, identified and evaluated policies that could contribute to increased productivity and sufficiency, assesed impacts of global warming on the industry and formulated policies and programs for the industry.
The congress also tackled climate change, production strategies, trade and global trends, business, research and development, biotechnology, biofuel, transportation and aflatoxin management.
Maize or corn as a crop has multiple uses but is chiefly grown for human and livestock consumption. The seeds and the cobs are used as basic raw material in various industries. The seeds are processed and converted into needed preparations, flakes, grits and pops for human consumption.
Studies of the Department of Science and Technology Research in Albay show that maize contains 60 percent to 68 percent starch and 7 percent to 15 percent protein.
The corn embryo, which forms about 12 percent of the whole grain is a source of protein, fats and sugars. Yellow maize is the richest source of Vitamin A.
Maize has more riboflavin than wheat or rice and is rich in phosphorous and potash. Maize contains 1.2 percent to 5.7 percent edible oil.
Maize oil is widely used as a cooking medium and for manufacturing of hydrogenated oil. The oil reduces cholesterol in the human blood. Its fat content is about 80 percent.
Corn is also used in the manufacture of starch, syrup, dextrose, oil, gelatinand lactic acid and corn flour is used as a thickening agent in the preparation of soups, sauces and custard powder.
— Rhaydz B. Barcia, Manila Times