Home Economy Senate Bill Aims to Boost Philippine Corn Industry Competitiveness

Senate Bill Aims to Boost Philippine Corn Industry Competitiveness

MANILA - A new legislative proposal, Senate Bill 2625, is set to drive advancements in the Philippine corn industry, recognized as a vital component supporting the nation's livestock and poultry sectors. The bill, introduced as a complementary measure to the Livestock, Poultry and Dairy Industry Development Act, intends to enhance the industry's productivity and global competitiveness.

According to Philippines News Agency, the bill's proponent, strengthening the corn industry is crucial due to its integral role in the agricultural sector, especially as a primary feedstock for livestock and poultry. In detailing the bill under Committee Report 246, titled "An Act to Develop the Philippine Corn Industry," Villar highlighted that 40 to 60 percent of animal feed composition is derived from yellow corn, underlining the commodity's significance.

The Philippines faces an annual shortfall of 3 to 5 million metric tons of corn, indicating a pressing need to bolster domestic production. In 2023, the corn sector, in conjunction with livestock and poultry industries, accounted for 27.17 percent of the gross value added in agriculture, providing employment to over 1.28 million corn farmers and 2.8 million individuals in associated sectors.

Despite its critical role in the agricultural economy, the yellow corn industry encounters numerous challenges that necessitate increased government support. To address these issues, SB 2625 proposes the establishment of the Corn Competitiveness Enhancement Fund, supplementing the industry's annual budget with a PHP3 billion allocation sourced from tariffs on imported corn and related feed ingredients. The fund's allocation strategy aims to dedicate 80 percent to yellow corn development and 20 percent to white corn and indigenous varieties enhancement.

Villar emphasized the urgent need for the Philippines to catch up with its Asian neighbors in yellow corn production, noting that the country ranks 8th despite a yield increase from 2018 to 2022. The proposed fund is viewed as a strategic investment to elevate the industry, improve yields, and support the myriad of stakeholders reliant on corn cultivation and processing.