Feed millers see supply of inputs dwindling

Feed millers see supply of inputs dwindling

By Adrian H. Halili, Reporter

THE feed industry is seeking more government support to get through the expected decline in the domestic supply of feed inputs next year, according to the Philippine Association of Feed Millers, Inc. (PAFMI).

PAFMI President Edwin C. Mapanao said that the industry is growing but faces challenges like a lack of competitive inputs, animal disease management, and excessive imports of finished meats.

He added that feed millers are currently facing sourcing challenges.

“We expect local supply (of inputs) to go down due to El Niño, irrigation challenges, and a lack of post-harvest facilities,” Mr. Mapanao told BusinessWorld.

The government weather service said a moderate to strong El Niño is expected until the second quarter of 2024.

He added that global supply is expected to be abundant but access will be subject to disruption by geopolitics.

Livestock feed depends on inputs like corn, wheat, and soy. About 40% to 60% of animal feed consists of yellow corn.

The Philippines has a deficit of about 3 to 5 million metric tons (MT) of corn annually.

According to the US Department of Agriculture, shipments of corn to the Philippines are estimated at 1 million MT during the marketing year 2023-2024.

He said that the government should also help corn producers achieve scale and improve their capacity to conduct direct trade.

“This also reduces the heavy reliance on middlemen, which adds to the cost and diminishes profitability, by enabling farmers to trade directly,” he added.

Mr. Mapanao said that pushing for crop diversification and building more drying and storage facilities would increase yields.

“There is also a need to address challenges in scaling up production, particularly on land use and access to credit,” he added.

He said that the government should improve its crop forecasting capacity and data gathering.

“Crop status reports, planting intentions, forecasts, etc. will go a long way in aiding corn-reliant industries in planning out their purchases,” he added.

Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel, Jr., has said that he will support the revival of the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics to ensure accurate and complete data for the agriculture sector.

The gathering of agricultural data is currently being handled by the Philippine Statistics Authority, local government units, Department of Agriculture regional offices, and institutional stakeholders.