Andrea Lim | Reporter
Corn, it appears, is next year’s ‘champion crop’, largely made feasible because of the government’s farm mechanization and seed banking initiatives.
Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Proceso Alcala said that the Philippines is already on the threshold of corn self-sufficiency, and it is a big boost that corn can now be harvested the whole year round because of modern post-harvest facilities.
Alcala said that farmers were able to harvest corn the whole year because of the corn-in-a-cob dryer provided by the government.
Seed banks were established for the first time therefore providing replacement seeds ready to be planted in any case inclement weather hit the country.
Alcala added that there are reserved seeds in every province all over the country.
The DA also said that local corn production reached self-sufficiency last year based on market demand.
According to the DA, while the Philippines has met the self-sufficiency levels for corn of the local feed and livestock industry, the real test for self-sufficiency also requires a one month buffer stock, which is a small margin “we hope to achieve very soon.”
Corn production has grown from 3.4MT/hectare to 4.2MT/hectare in the past few years mainly due to more high-yielding seeds and new technology.
The Philippines managed to save more than P60 billion on corn imports from 2010 to 2013, whereas the Philippines used to import P28 billion worth of corn every year.