DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/4 October) – Increasing corn yields will not result in bigger income for farmers as prices of the country’s agricultural produce continue to be governed by the so-called law of supply and demand.
Pedro Arnado, chairperson of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) – Southern Mindanao, issued this reaction on Monday to a resolution passed during the recent 8th Philippine National Corn Congress (PNCC) that sought to increase the current yields of yellow and white corn.
For yellow corn in particular, the PNCC wanted to increase its yield to five metric tons per hectare per cropping by 2016. But it did not pass a resolution concerning corn prices in the local market.
Arnado noted that small farmers have found government programs “boring” as the prices of their products are still being controlled by the law of supply and demand.
He said the government has to implement a comprehensive program for the agricultural sector that will allow small farmers to have better income as their yields increase.
Arnado stressed that farmers hardly earn profits and have remained indebted to traders with the current system.
As an example, he said the farm gate price of white corn is usually at least P9 per kilo, but in remote villages such as Mapula and Pandaitan in Paquibato district here, it is only between P6 and P7.
Arnado estimated the cost of production and post-harvest activities
per hectare of corn at P50,000 to P60,000.
But given the current system, farmers would earn a gross income of only about P45,000 to P50,000 per hectare, or just enough to cover the expenses, he added.
Close to 1,000 participants from the agricultural sector in different regions attended the national corn congress held here late last month.
Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala welcomed the PNCC’s resolutions presented to him during the culmination program of the national congress on September 28.
He said similar issues will be addressed in the agricultural roadmap that is still being prepared by the Department of Agriculture (DA).
Constancio C. Maghanoy Jr., DA-11 regional director, earlier told reporters that part of the department’s program is public investment in agriculture.
This includes farm-to-market roads, irrigation, marketing and research technology, he said. (Lorie Ann Cascaro/MindaNews)