Philippine corn farmers are setting their sights on exporting as much as 5,000 tons of corn to Taiwan on a monthly basis starting the first quarter of 2009.
Philippine Maize Federation Inc. (Philmaize) president Roger Navarro said his group started negotiations with a Taiwanese private firm in early October and that they are just awaiting the reply of the firm.
“We offered a minimum of 5,000 metric tons of monthly shipment. We are just waiting for the approval of the company on the volume and price,” said Navarro.
He said corn farmers offered to sell local corn at P16 per kilo and that the terms of their offer are almost the same as that which they presented to Korea Overseas Grains Investment Co. Ltd.
Initially, Navarro said local farmers will make a trial shipment, the bulk of which will come from Mindanao. Eventually, he said, most of the corn will be sourced from Luzon which is nearer to Taiwan. He disclosed that the plan is to ship out corn from Port Irene in Santa Ana, Cagayan.
“The problem is the port does not have bulk-handling facilities like terminal silos. But we’re trying to devise a way to ship out corn from Isabela,” he said.
Philmaize noted that Taiwan imports as much as 5 million metric tons of corn from various sources annually.
Just like the South Korean firm, Navarro said the Taiwanese entity is also keen on investing in postharvest facilities and terminal silos in the country to improve the capacity of local corn farmers to export in bulk.
He said negotiations with the Taiwanese and local corn farmers were facilitated by agricultural attaché to Taiwan Roque Mamon.
Navarro said Philmaize is urging Mamon to organize a trade mission involving Philippine corn farmers and Taiwanese traders.
Local corn farmers were encouraged to jump-start negotiations for the shipment of corn to Taiwan after Taipei had approved the quality of Philippine corn, according to Agriculture Assistant Secretary Dennis Araullo.
Earlier, Navarro said corn farmers are increasingly becoming more interested in exporting their produce as local prices pale in comparison with international prices.
Philmaize had been asking the government to approve a support price of P13 per kilogram for yellow corn, but the National Food Authority (NFA) approved only P11.50 per kilo.
The DA, however, said that they will ask the NFA Council to approve a P1.50 hike in support price for yellow corn.
Yellow corn is the main ingredient used for making feeds consumed by the hog and poultry sector.
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