Poultry industry faces threat from imports
The United Broiler Raisers Association (UBRA) said small and medium scale raisers might just resort to importation and stop producing given the track the government is taking.
AFP
Poultry industry faces threat from imports
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - July 29, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The local poultry industry may soon find itself stopping production amid tough competition in the local market due to the continued deluge of imports.

The United Broiler Raisers Association (UBRA) said small and medium scale raisers might just resort to importation and stop producing given the track the government is taking.

“In the long run, especially the small and medium scale producers, if we see that we cannot survive anymore and join together, we might as well go into importation, no more production, because that’s the priority of the government,” UBRA president Elias Jose Inciong told The STAR.

“We have tried for decades to convince the government that imports do not benefit the consumers but they do not believe us. So we will follow their lead, they want importation, we will just import,” he said.

Raisers continue to suffer from declining farmgate prices amid a supply glut, exacerbated by the surge in imports.

Latest data from the National Meat Inspection Service showed that dressed chicken inventory is at 33,655.18 metric tons, up nearly 50 percent.

Of the figure, more than half or 19,906.79 MT were imported while the remaining 13,748.38 MT were locally produced.

“We are being less naive. We thought that by being active in interfacing with government, we will be able to convince them. We have accepted the reality that importation is the future,” Inciong said.

“Unless something happens in the international market which will open the eyes of policy makers that you can never rely entirely on importation. Right now, they are relying on that for food security. If they can do it with an ordinary rice farmer, how much more to us?” he added.

Farmgate price is now at P80 per kilogram from the P114 per kilo in June, which was the peak for the year so far.

However, retail prices have been steady at a high of P150 to P170 per kilo even when farmgate prices have fluctuated in the last months.

 “There is a notion that importation benefits the consumers but it doesn’t. It is our position from the beginning that importation of poultry products and most agri products have not benefitted the consumers specially the ordinary ones,” Inciong said.

“There is a disconnect in the prices and that holds true for imports as well. Why would they pass on their profits and give it to the consumers? Consumers are not benefitting and producers are harmed, they are losing money,” he added.
With the government’s policy directions leaning toward more importation, the local poultry industry is losing hope given their limited resources.

“The priority will be the importers and that’s the reality of things. Whether or not the consumers benefit, whether or not producers are harmed, we are irrelevant. It is just a matter of revenue generation for the government,” Inciong said.

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