The Philippines may export corn to neighboring countries soon, as harvests this year will likely exceed the domestic requirement of 5.6 million metric tons, the Agriculture Department said Thursday.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said based on the report of assistant secretary and national corn program coordinator Federico Laciste, yellow and white corn harvest in 2017 was expected to hit 8.1 million metric tons despite the series of natural calamities that hit the country recently, including the seven-month El Niño dry spell.
Piñol said production of cassava, an alternative to corn in animal feeds, would also likely reach 570,000 metric tons, contributing further in stabilizing the corn and animal feeds supply in the Philippines.
Piñol said to address the issue of oversupply, he would ask President Rodrigo Duterte in the next Cabinet meeting to direct the National Food Authority to amend rules prohibiting the export of corn until the country doubled its corn production to 200 percent.
Piñol said the export of corn to Malaysia, Taiwan and South Korea could result in better prices for yellow corn and would encourage farmers to plant more.
Yellow and white corn production reached 7.5 million metric tons last year, while cassava production hit 536,000 metric tons.
Piñol said corn production was expected to be boosted further with the approval and adoption of the solar-powered irrigation system based on the technical validation and recommendation of the DA’s Central Agriculture and Fisheries Engineering Division.
The adoption of drip irrigation using the solar-powered irrigation system and the use of hybrid corn seeds were identified as priority measures in the national corn orogram.
Irrigating corn fields, which is already being done in parts of Central Luzon, Cagayan Valley and Ilocos Region, proved to have tremendously boosted production per hectare to a national average of 4.7-metric tons per harvest.