Corn feeds shortage may trigger hike in poultry prices

The Mindanao Examiner Regional Newspaper - - News - ( Fayette C. Riñen)

A DROUGHT due to the worsening El Niño phenomenon could affect agricultural production and shortage of corn supply may hike prices of chicken in the market, the Department of Agriculture said.

Dr. Raul Migriño, a DA veterinarian, said that it is highly likely that costs of poultry will rise once there is corn scarcity which is the main ingredient for chicken feeds.

“The main ingredient of chicken feeds is 50 to 70 per cent corn,” Migriño said during a recent forum in Cebu of the Association of Government Information Officers- Philippine Information Agency that tackled the NewCastle disease and impact of El Niño to poultry and livestock production.

Newcastle disease is an infection of domestic poultry and other bird species with virulent Newcastle disease virus. It is a worldwide problem that presents primarily as an acute respiratory disease, but depression, nervous manifestations, or diarrhoea may be the predominant clinical form.

At present, Migriño assured there is sufficient supply of chicken in the market with Cebu having the highest production rate in the region pegged at 40 per cent, followed by Negros Oriental and Bohol at 30 per cent each with the remaining ten per cent being produced by Siquijor.

Cebu, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor, on the other hand, are part of the 29 provinces throughout the country affected by El Niño, but this number could still go up by April.

As early as October last year, DA conducted information caravans from town to town in the entire region to educate local government units and farmers on the impact of El Niño to crops, poultry and livestock.

“We have told the farmers to plant droughtresistant crops like cassava, sweet potatoes and yam because their byproducts can also be fed to animals,” said Migriño, adding, farmers were also taught on silage where the good grass is cut and preserved and kept in anticipation of the worsening drought that could wither the grass, which is the main food for cattle.

Migriño said during extreme humid weather, animals must be rehydrated at all times because a decline in immunity makes animals susceptible to various kinds of diseases, including Newcastle.

He said pigs are initially vulnerable to El Niño because of their body fats and during pregnancy, could experience either abortion or premature delivery.

DA has launched mitigating measures to protect poultry and livestock by giving out free de- worming medicines and injectable vitamins and advised farmers to visit the nearest DA office in their area for technical assistance.

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