Brazil Leads the Philippines’ Corn Import Market

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Nov 22, 2022 | Agricultural Markets

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The Philippines is one of the biggest Corn-producing countries globally. Corn is the second most important crop in the Philippines, a staple food of 20% of the Filipino population, primarily in the regions of the Visayas and Mindanao. About 14 million Filipinos prefer white Corn as their main staple, and yellow Corn accounts for about 50% of livestock mixed feeds. Some 600,000 farm households depend on Corn as a primary source of livelihood, in addition to transport services, traders, processors, and agricultural input suppliers who directly benefit from Corn production, processing, marketing, and distribution.

Over the past six years, about 2.5 million hectares of land were utilized for cultivating Corn in the Philippines. Despite the fluctuation in production, Corn remains among the leading crops produced in the country. Aside from rice, Corn is considered another staple crop in the Philippines. The majority of it is used for livestock and manufacturing. The country has six common varieties – sweet Corn, wild violet Corn, white lagkitan, Visayan white Corn, purple, and young Corn.

White lagkitan (also known as waxy Corn or glutinous Corn) is one of the most common varieties harvested in the country. It will be found in many Corn-producing regions, where it’s available either fresh or dried. Dried lagkitan (hominy) can be ground into a fine powder such as Cornmeal, grits, or Cornflour.

Visayan white Corn (tinigib) is a variety of Philippine Corn generally found in the Cebu region. It boasts a low glycemic index, making it slower to digest, resulting in a more gradual release of glucose in the body. This, plus the fact that it tastes like rice, makes it a common rice substitute. Corn is processed into high-value products, such as Cornstarch, Corn syrups, Corn oil, gluten, and snack foods.

In the Philippines, Corn production is based on the landscape and topography of an area. In 2021, the production volume of Corn in the Philippines amounted to over 8 million MT, slightly higher than the produced quantity of 8.12 million MT in the previous year, according to the Statista.

The USDA forecasts MY 2022/23 Corn production down to 7.9 million MT because of scant fertilizer application due to soaring fertilizer prices. The production decline is a combination of area harvested and yield decreases. The USDA also projects an increase in Corn feed consumption to 7.5 million MT in MY 2022/23 because of the release of Executive Order #171, Series of 2022. It favorably modifies market access for Corn. Additionally, broiler production is expected to rebound by 2 percent in 2023, which should nudge Corn consumption upward.

Brazil Leads the Philippines’ Corn Import Market

The Philippines Corn Trade

MY 2022/23 Corn imports are to increase to 1.7 million MT after the release of Executive Order No. 171, Series of 121. The Corn minimum access volume for 2022 is still at 216,940 MT. Among feed millers and animal farmers, Corn is still the most preferred energy source if available. On June 25, 2022, the Philippine Department of Agriculture (DA) Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) informed stakeholders that it would be enforcing BAI Memorandum Circular No. 26 (MC26), dated August 11, 2021, which is burdensome. Some industry contacts, which are MAV holders, already sourced Corn, while others are in the process of ordering. 

 As per AgFlow data, Brazil shipped 0.2 million MT of Corn to the Philippines in Jan-Nov 2022, followed by Argentina (0.1 million MT), Myanmar (0.02 million MT), and Australia (0.01 million MT). In terms of export, the total volume of Corn shipped from the Philippines amounted to around 932.7 MT in 2021, down from the previous year’s total.

Other sources: STATISTA

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