Posted on March 15, 2016 at 12:00 AM by Iowa Corn
The ILEAD Class 7 has made their way over to The Philippines for the first part of their international agriculture mission to Southeast Asia. They traveled for about 30 hours straight through and landed in Manila late Tuesday night.
The group started off Day 1 by visiting with San Miguel Foods, who is the largest feed miller and importer of soy meal in The Philippines. They raise 40% of the poultry for their country and one of their fastest growing areas of business is the QSRs (Quick Service Restaurants). These would be similar to McDonald's and Kentucky Fried Chickens in the United States.
The class learned that The Philippines spend over 50% of their annual income on food which is one of the most expensive in SE Asia. They are moving from eating rice to more pastas and breads due to the cost of growing rice. Fish is the most widely consumed protein, and chicken is the most reasonalbly priced.
Social media is playing an important part in the food industry as there are more cell phones than people in The Philippine (population 102 million). Consumers use social media to promote and influence eating habits similar to consumers in the United States. They are seeing a move to more "healthy" options especially in the QSRs. Free-range, cage-free, and antibiotic-free are terms that food companies are using to market their foods.
The second stop that day was to Seaoil, which is an independent oil company and a big ethanol supporter. In 2000 when the oil prices were increasing they began to look for alternatives such as ethanol. They got the laws passed to add ethanol to the fuel and now the biggest issues are to educate the consumers and get the engine manufacturers to announce that the ethanol is good to use in their vehicles. It is very affordable to purchase motorcycles and autos in The Philippines right now so the consumption of fuel is on the rise.
The final visit on Day 1 was with the Department of Energy where they discussed their goals to implement B10 and E20 by 2020 and B20 and E85 by 2025. Their main source to produce biodiesel is from coconut oil and the main source to produce bioethanol is from sugar cane.
While the group was traveling to and from meetings they were able to see a little of the city of Manila, Philippines. They noticed it was very westernized. There was a beautiful golf course and very nice mansions on one block and shacks on the next, Starbucks and McDonalds everywhere, and their public transportation consisted of Jeepneys, which were extended Jeeps that were leftover from WWII.
Meeting with San Miguel, Seaoil, and the Department of Energy was a great way to start this two week agriculture mission. They learned a lot about this country and where they were headed in the ag industry.