Bt corn to help Philippines become a player in global chicken market

  • 31 July 2014, Thursday

Source: Business Mirror
5 July 2014

THE Philippines stands to secure a niche in the global chicken-export market if it can reduce feed prices to global levels by producing more yellow corn, particularly the high-yielding biotech varieties.

In a recent study undertaken by Liborio S. Cabanilla, U-Primo E. Rodriguez and Antonio Jesus A. Quilloy for the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (Searca) and supported by the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) and the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), it was found out that the country has been importing chicken minimally and may even succeed in being self-sufficient in chicken if it can sustain the growth in corn production.

In the 1980s, the poultry production in the Philippines was on a par with Thailand but the latter eventually raised more poultry and engaged in exporting to a number of countries, particularly Japan, leaving the Philippines behind.

Assistant Agriculture Secretary Edilberto de Luna, also the chief of the National Corn Program (NCP), said that with a huge stockpile of corn and the expected bumper harvest for the first quarter, the country might be able to supply the feed ingredients that the poultry industry needs for the rest of the year.

De Luna credits the increase in corn production by farmers cultivating biotech corn for the achievement, noting that since 2003, the land devoted to Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) corn had skyrocketed to 750,000 hectares.

He added that the country used to import about 1 million metric tons (MMT) of corn to support the livestock industry.

The study on the poultry industry, part of the assessment entitled “Productivity Growth in Philippine Hog and Poultry Industries,” has been lauded by Searca Executive Director Dr. Gil C. Saguiguit Jr. for providing critical inputs into the performance of the poultry industry and how chicken meat and other products could eventually become a major export commodities.

“Results showed that costs and revenues in the poultry sector expanded by 41.73 percent over the six-year period [1994-2000]. Higher output was the primary source of higher costs. With a growth rate of 37.65 percent, output expanded more than two times faster than the input prices as a whole. The estimates also showed that total factor productivity [TFP] total growth caused costs to be 12.72 percent lower than what it should have been over the period,” Cabanilla said.

More than half of the increase in revenues was due to higher input use, he added. “The contribution of TFP was also significant, accounting for 15.05 percentage points of the 41.73-percent increase in total revenues,” Cabanilla concluded.

Searca released the study as part of a 12-monograph series late last year.