Tariff cuts on corn opposed

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    Depressed prices. The price of corn has dropped to P8 to P9 per kilogram in the last two years.

    A House resolution has been filed in Congress asking the National Economic Development Authority and the Tariff Commission to defer moves to lower tariffs on corn.

    House Resolution 2289 filed on Monday by Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez was in response to the announcement by the Department of Agriculture (DA) that a technical working group (TWG) is studying the possibility of lowering corn import duties to bring down prices of animal feeds and livestock and poultry.

    The TWG created by the DA is yet to submit its recommendations.

    The resolution supports the call of the Philippine Maize Federation Inc. (PhilMaize) and the United Broilers and Raisers Association (UBRA) and the Magna Carta for Small Farmers that government has to assure equitable distribution of benefits and opportunities through the empowerment of small farmers.

    In his resolution, Rodriguez said lowering the tariff on corn can kill the local industry especially that the abundance of Philippine corn production did not raise the incomes of farmers due to the failure of the DA to promote and manage indigenous agricultural resources.

    Corn tariff is at 5 percent from Asean; 35 percent within the minimum access volume (MAV) and; 50 percent outside MAV.

    Citing pleadings from PhilMaize, the resolution said corn prices do not have direct and immediate correlation to the decrease of feeds and meat price especially that price of corn in the last two years dropped to P8 to P9 per kilogram (kg) but did not result in a reduction in the price of feed and meat.

    PhilMaize attributed the fall of local corn prices to the uncontrolled, unabated and uncalibrated importation of feed wheat and corn during the wet season harvest which displaces local corn harvest from warehouses and silos of livestock and feed mills.

    PhilMaize said the local corn sector has so far lost P10 billion as current prices of corn are far below the P13.25 per kg support price established by the National Food Authority made worse by the effects of the pandemic.