El Niño forces feed wheat imports

The prolonged dry spell is forcing the private sector to import a large volume of feed wheat from Thailand, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said on Thursday.

Agriculture Undersecretary Salvador Salacup said that since January, local livestock producers and feed millers have been having a hard time sourcing corn, the main ingredient in livestock feeds.

Corn has been one of the crops that have been hardest hit by the El Niño weather phenomenon.

He said that 700,000 metric tons of feed wheat would be imported by the private sector until June this year. Of the 700,000 metric tons, 300,000 metric tons have come in, Salacup said.

He clarified that unlike sugar, the importation of feed wheat by the private sector has no government restriction but the importers have to pay about 7-percent tariff as stipulated under the Asean Free Trade Agreement (AFTA).

On Tuesday, the Agriculture department announced that the dry spell has caused damage to crops amounting to P3.77 billion, with corn being the worst hit at P2 billion, followed by palay (unhusked rice) with P1.7 billion. (PIA-Bohol)

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