Australia Outpaces America in the Philippines Wheat Market
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The Philippines has a population of 115 million people and remains one of the highest per capita consumers of rice and the lowest per capita consumers of Wheat for food in Asia. The average Filipino in 2018 consumed almost five times more rice than Wheat. The relatively low levels of Wheat consumption for food currently in the Philippines – compared to the world average of 90kg per capita — shows there may be substantial opportunity for enhanced consumption.
It is impractical to produce Wheat in the Philippines, so all Wheat for food is imported. Historically, Wheat imports by the Philippines are principally from the United States, particularly for food use. The US Wheat Associates reinforce this dominance in the market. They are highly active, providing trade and technical service calls and conducting Wheat food production training. As a measure of the importance of the market, US Wheat Associates has its South Asian Region Office in Manila.
FAS (Foreign Agricultural Service) Manila forecasts Wheat imports for MY 2022/23 to remain at 6.2 million tons, in line with USDA Official. Particularly, FAS Manila projects MY 2022/23 feed Wheat consumption to remain at 2.2 million tons, in line with USDA Official. FSI Consumption for MY 2022/23 is the same at 3.9 million tons. As per Agflow data, Australia is now the largest import market of the Philippines, with 2.4 million tons in 2021-2022, followed by the US (2.0 million tons), Canada (0.2 million tons), and India (0.1 million tons).
“We have enough supply in the country; only the prices will change,” Ric Pinca, Executive director of the Philippine Association of Flour Millers, Inc. (PAFMI), said. Though the country has a sufficient Wheat supply, it does not mean the country is unaffected by the rising global price of Wheat.
The ex-mill price of flour varies between P900-P1000 per sack, according to Pinca. Before this, the price of flour was P860 for a long time. The rising price of flour also means that bread and pandesal costs more. Suggested Retail Prices (SRP) of bread tasty and bread pandesal are expected to remain at P38.5 per 450 grams and P23.5 per 250 grams in 2023.
There are 21 companies engaged in flour milling in the Philippines, up from 8 mills in the 1980s. Another two mills are likely to be built in the near future, despite the under-utilization of the current capacity. There are three clusters of millers: PAFMIL (1958–1980) — 7 mills; CHAMPFLOUR (1990–1995) — 4 mills; and New Mills (2010–2018) — 10 mills. They are scattered all over the country producing 83 million bags of flour annually.
The Philippines Feed Wheat
In terms of feed, Wheat is used in livestock farms and fisheries. Though the Philippines does not buy Wheat for flour milling from Russia and Ukraine, the same cannot be said for Wheat used in feed milling. Pinca said: We buy a lot of Russian and Ukrainian Wheat for feed milling because Wheat substitutes corn. We need 10 million metric tons of corn annually for the animal feed sector, but we only produce 5 million tons annually. Though corn is a healthier feed than Wheat, according to Pinca, Wheat is being used in feed milling because the country cannot fully produce enough corn to meet all its demands.
Pinca added: Wheat feed is vital in the fisheries sector. For fish farming, they want their feeds to float. Fish farmers prefer feeds that float. If corn will be used, it will just sink and not be eaten by fish. What this may mean for the consumer is a probable rise in meat and fish prices due to the increase in feed prices.
Other sources: https://mb.com.ph/
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