Seed News

Pioneer Philippines Launches Corn Seed Plant

Date Posted: April 5, 2011

Manila, Philippines (April 4) -– Pioneer Hi-Bred Philippines Inc. (PHBP) launched Monday the first two phases of a nearly P1 billion worth corn processing plant in Tarlac City that may be positioned as a seed export hub in South East Asia.

With a current capacity of 4,000 metric tons (MT) per year, PHBP is set to jack up capacity to 12,000 MT within the next five years in a plan to use the plant from which to export hybrid corn seeds perhaps initially to Vietnam and Pakistan.

The plant though is definitely prioritizing to fill the local supply as farmers are foreseen to continue to seize opportunities in corn planting in light of more stable corn price at higher levels.

"By providing quality seeds at the right time along with our technology recommendations, farmers are able to maximize their productivity and income while helping address food security," according to PHBP Country Manager Jet Parma in a press briefing.

Arun Baral, Pioneer Hi Bred International Asia Pacific business director, said the company is optimistic about the Asia Pacific market.

"Our export will be in the general Asia Pacific market, wherever the demand will be. The world population is increasing. The demand for food is going up. In Asia after the crisis, I still feel a lot more momentum in terms of rising income, meat-based protein diet, and the willingness of farmers to adopt new technology."

The Tarlac plant, located in a 7.4-hectare (18.4 acres) area within the Luisita Industrial Park, will directly employ 400 people. The plant will also process hybrid rice as PHBP is set to beef up its marketing of hybrid rice seed PHB71.

The plant is expected to generate jobs for 4,000 corn and rice farmers who will plant the seeds. This will require around 7,000 hectares of seed area. This will in turn generate more jobs for farmers to produce commercial rice and corn over around 700,000 hectares yearly. "Pioneer will provide more income opportunities to farming communities in Tarlac, Pampanga, Pangasinan, and La Union as it works with local farmers to increase seed production," said Parma.

The Tarlac plant is PHBP's second seed production facility. Its first one is located in Polomolok, South Cotabato which has a capacity of 6,000 MT. The seed plant has mechanical dryers, processing buildings, bulk storage warehouses, utilities, and service buildings.

PHBP claims a 40 percent market share in the hybrid corn market which makes it Philippines' biggest hybrid corn producer. A subsidiary of Iowa-based Du Pont, PHBP believes there is so much opportunity in corn in the PHilippines specially in the next five years when corn price may continue rising in of the rising price of crude oil that's prompting a shift on the use of corn for ethanol.

Besides the country imports corn and corn substitutes, including wheat, soybean, and cassava, for feed ingredient.

"The country still imports 300,000 tons of corn under MAV (minimum access volume)," Parma said.

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