Short­age of chicken looms

Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro - - Business -

There is a loom­ing short­age of chicken in the coun­try due to an ap­par­ent dis­agree­ment among stake­hold­ers on the price of the com­mod­ity.

“The stake­hold­ers could not seem to agree on what to do, but I hope they will,” said Agri­cul­ture Sec­re­tary Manny Piñol, in an in­ter­view with the me­dia on Tues­day.

Piñol noted prices of chicken have fallen to about PHP38 in some ar­eas and farm­ers are los­ing, so “they should all agree to in­crease the farm gate price by at least PHP10 ev­ery week un­til such time they are able to reach the level where they will not be los­ing money any­more”.

He ex­pressed con­cern that if the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion con­tin­ues, “some of the small play­ers might get out of the busi­ness and we might have short­age of chicken by se­cond quar­ter of the year”.

Piñol said he also or­dered for a re­view of the vol­ume of chicken be­ing im­ported into the coun­try as this might be too much for the lo­cal mar­ket to ab­sorb, and could end up hurt­ing the lo­cal poul­try in­dus­try.

A United States De­part­ment of Agri­cul­ture (USDA re­port fore­casts that the coun­try’s to­tal chicken meat im­ports may ex­pand by 9.67 per­cent to 340,000 met­ric tons (MT) in 2019, from the es­ti­mated pur­chases of 310,000 MT last year.

The USDA fore­casts that global chicken meat ex­ports will grow four per­cent, set­ting a new record this year. Ship­ments by ma­jor traders are fueled largely by ris­ing con­sump­tion in de­vel­op­ing mar­kets, such as the Philip­pines, An­gola, Cuba and Ghana.

For July-De­cem­ber 2018 pe­riod, the poul­try sub-sec­tor pro­duced 5.45 per­cent more out­put. It con­trib­uted 18.44 per­cent to the to­tal agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tion. Out­put gains were noted for chicken, chicken eggs and duck eggs. The gross value of poul­try pro­duc­tion at cur­rent prices amounted to PHP 56.1 bil­lion, higher by 19.19 per­cent com­pared to 2017 earn­ings. The sub­sec­tor’s out­put grew by 5.31 per­cent in the last three quar­ters of 2018.

Piñol said un­der the World Trade Or­ga­ni­za­tion (WTO) agree­ment with trade part­ners, the Philip­pines can in­sti­tute reme­dies to pro­tect lo­cal in­dus­tries from be­ing in­jured by over-im­por­ta­tion.

Stocks in the cold stor­age right now for lo­cal chicken stands at 18 mil­lion kilo­grams while im­ported chicken is at 16 mil­lion kg. “That would rep­re­sent over sup­ply. The mar­ket could not ab­sorb (such vol­ume),” he said.

As such, he said, big play­ers would tend to lower the price of chicken to the detri­ment of lo­cal pro­duc­ers.

The DA chief said once and for all, stake­hold­ers and farm­ers “should agree among them­selves (on the price of chicken) to pro­tect them­selves”. (PNA)

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