Conglomerate San Miguel Corp. (SMC), a leading local food and beverage producer, continued to help alleviate the challen­ges brought about by the new coronavirus disease pandemic to the agriculture industry after it bought 69 million kilos of corn from various producers across the country.

SMC president and COO Ramon Ang said the company, through San Miguel Foods Inc. (SMFI), has ramped up the sourcing and purchasing of the crop and other agricultural outputs to help farmers who were unable to move their produce due to various quarantine measures.

Since March, prices of corn for wholesale and retail declined by 23 percent and 8.2 percent, respectively, to P19.20 a kilo and P28 a kilo.

The corn would be used to manufacture animal feeds for SMFI’s poultry segment.

Recently, the company purchased 92,000 kilos of corn from farmer-cooperatives in Central Luzon and Pangasi­nan through the help of the Department of Agriculture (DA).

Ang said the company was also expecting 150,000 kilos of corn from Camarines Sur, 100,000 kilos of which would be coming from Maymatan Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative.

“We expect to purchase more corn from farmers in the coming weeks as we continue to secure agreements with farmers in many corn-produ­cing regions in the country,” Ang said.

Apart from corn, SMC has also called on other local producers of farm products such as rice, cassava and coconut oil to come forward through the assistance of the DA.

“The farmers are at the core of our food production and they are even more essential and vital during this pandemic. We encourage more to come forward and help us secure the needed ingredients and raw materials for our food production,” the executive added.

Earlier, SMC’s agreement with the DA had allowed it to purchase 4 million kilos of surplus corn, enough to feed over 7 million live broilers.

As part of the conglome­rate’s agreement with the DA, Petron gas stations in Metro Manila—which are also part of SMC’s operations—are being utilized as outlets for farmers’ produce through the Kadiwa program. The latter refers to the government initiative to directly link farmers and other agricultural workers to consumers. —KARL R. OCAMPO


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