Conflict takes its toll on corn production

The decline in production was traced to the decline in the hectarage planted to the crop, and Roderico Bioco, PMFI founding head, said there was a decline of about 50 percent overall in Bukidnon, North Cotabato, Lanao del Sur, and Maguindanao.

The decline was estimated to reach 70,000 hectares.

He said the farmers were scared of returning to their farms, “especially in the areas near the conflict zones because of the peace and order problem,” Bioco said.

He said the decline in area planted to corn was translated to a cut in corn production by at least 300,000 metric tons.

Bioco owns the Mindanao Grains Processing Inc. which brands itself as the country’s biggest corn grains center. The MGPI caters to at least 10 percent of the province’s corn production along with the other players.

He said the decline in corn production in Mindanao pulled down the national corn production also by about 1.5 million metric tons or 30 percent of the 5.5 million metric tons.

Only last year, Bioco said the biggest threat to corn production was the increase in price of inputs such as fertilizers, followed by the unfavorable weather condition characterized by too much rain especially in November and December.

He said that in 2007, “the Philippines was able to achieve a feat of self-sufficiency, for at least a year and a half.”

Bioco said the conflict was beyond the control of the corn industry but he said he wanted to show that the conflict has affected production.

He said Bukidnon’s annual corn production was estimated at 450,000 metric tons.  (Walter I. Balane / MindaNews)