CORN TARIFFS are driving up the cost of producing livestock and poultry, putting the industry at a disadvantage relative to imports, the Philippine Association of Feed Millers, Inc. (PAFMI) said.

Citing a study by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), the association said in a statement Thursday that over the last decade, the Philippines has paid high tariffs for corn imports, and estimated corn costs at up to $0.44 per kilogram (/kg).

It said comparable prices in China, Vietnam and Thailand are up to $0.38/kg, $0.29/kg and $0.24/kg, respectively.

“Corn is a major ingredient of feed for both swine and poultry, and the Philippines is unable to benefit from the low cost of imported corn owing to high corn tariffs,” PAFMI said, referring to the findings of Philippine Institute for Development Studies Research Fellow Roehlano M. Briones.

According to the NEDA report, pork production costs are P112.40 /kg, the highest among the countries covered. The report also noted that the feed cost for hogs was equivalent to P64/kg, compared to Thailand’s P54.54/kg.

The production cost per broiler chicken was P92.40/kg in the Philippines against the Vietnam cost of P56.04/kg. Feed in the Philippines accounted for 65% of broiler production cost, as opposed to 41% for Vietnam.

“(We) have been reiterating the need for government to review the current high tariff rates on corn at a time when global supply has been tight,” PAFMI said.

It said domestic corn production is “not enough,” and this has forced feed millers to import. According to PAFMI, 80% of domestic corn is taken up by livestock growers.

Yellow corn is a key raw material in animal feed. — Angelica Y. Yang