Industry requests immediate government assistance, genetically modified seeds to replace crop
The damage to corn crops in the Philippines caused by typhoon Pablo has increased to P3.04 billion (US$74.3 million), according to area farmers, affecting 30,000 hectares and destroying 210,000 metric tons of corn.
Philippine Maize Federation President Roger Navarro has asked for immediate assistance from the government, saying that the industry needs as much as P3 billion (US$73.4 million) to start over. Navarro has also requested that the government provide genetically modified seeds to farmers in affected areas for quick turnaround planting to replace damaged crops. But agriculture officials have said that such a thing could be too expensive.
“One of their recommendations is to make it 50–50, meaning the farmer will shoulder half of the cost of [genetically modified] seeds,” said Navarro. “Whatever the government decides to do is okay with us as long as they act immediately.” In the meantime, the federation has asked the National Dairy Authority to buy the damaged corn as an emergency purchase. ”At this stage, the corn cannot be accepted by corn traders and feed millers,” said Navarro. “However, it is very desirable to the dairy industry for silage.”