THE AGRICULTURE department’s research center in Cagayan Valley region in northern Philippines will lead a yellow corn breeding program aimed at providing affordable and sustainable supply for animal feeds.
“The program will strengthen the development of yellow corn varieties with improved yield potential of 5-6 tons per hectare, and improved drought and disease tolerance,” the Department of Agriculture (DA) said in a statement on Tuesday.
It aims to meet the requirements of the livestock, poultry, and dairy sectors in line with the government’s food security thrust, according to DA.
The program also aims to ensure sufficient supply of quality breeder seeds.
The department will also develop “open-pollinated white corn varieties for food staple and food processing.”
DA noted that the Cagayan Valley region is a key yellow corn growing area, accounting for 31% of total national production in 2021.
The DA’s Cagayan Valley Research Center has developed 18 open-pollinated varieties (OPV) of corn as of 2020.
“Through the implementation of this sustainable corn breeding program, at least two varieties are expected to be commercialized in two years,” DA said.
The program will be undertaken with the Bureau of Agricultural Research, and the Agricultural Training Institute.
Albay Rep. Jose Ma. Clemente S. Salceda, meanwhile, said increasing local corn production will be crucial to taming inflation, particularly for the prices of egg and fish.
“Corn accounts for 60-70% of costs in aquaculture. Every 1% increase in corn prices leads to a P2-5 price increase in tilapia prices,” Mr. Salceda said in a statement on Tuesday.
Mr. Salceda said corn prices have recorded a 16% year-on-year inflation rate and continues to increase monthly by 1%.
The solon also called on government to review corn tariffs.
“Inflation is not due to accelerated demand. It’s supply,” he said. — Sheldeen Joy Talavera and Beatriz Marie D. Cruz