Cheap corn starch from China is flooding the Philippine market to the great frustration of local manufacturers of the commodity. This was learned from Mark Anthony Lee who represents a corn starch factory in Bustos, Bulacan.
Lee said that the corn starch from China is being sold in the local market at P600 per bag of 25 kilos. That’s way below the production cost of manufacturers in the Philippines which is about P650 per bag, Lee said. The trouble is that the locally manufactured corn starch is taxed at 16% which is the same rate as the imported. Lee believes that locally produced starch should be taxed at a lower rate.
Lee’s company processes 120 tons of yellow corn from Isabela every day for making starch which has a wide variety of uses. The raw materials cost P16 per kilo so that it requires a huge capital to maintain stocks of corn to sustain the daily operation of the company.
For every ton of corn, 67% is recovered as starch. The starch is used for the manufacture of noodles like bihon. It is also used as baking and cooking additive. It is used as adhesive in the manufacture of corrugated boxes, in making baby powder and cosmetics, and in making medical capsules.
Aside from starch, other byproducts are corn oil, gluten for animal feed and syrup which can be used to sweeten soft drinks and other beverages. Corn oil, however, can not compete with the cheap palm oil. And the syrup is more costly than the ordinary sugar for sweetening food products
Lee suspects that the starch from China is of the low grade that is not good for human consumption that is why it is very cheap. He said that responsible agencies of the government should make an analysis of the imported corn starch to protect local consumers.