Chicken prices drop amid oversupply
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - February 14, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines is seeing a glut in chicken supply as importers scramble to buy due to the continued spread of the African swine fever (ASF), according to the United Broiler Raisers Association (UBRA).

Local production is improving, further contributing to the excessive supply of chicken in the domestic market, which has pushed down farmgate prices.

“There is excess supply in terms of production and imports vis-a-vis demand which is both seasonably down and aggravated by Covid-19,” UBRA president Elias Jose Inciong told The STAR. COVID-19 is the coronavirus disease-2019.

“A lot of players misread the effect of ASF and became overly aggressive. Importers thought it was a sure thing but they forgot that in terms of demand there are limits,” he said.

For January 2020, chicken imports have already surpassed the volume of pork imports.

Latest data from the Bureau of Animal Industry showed that chicken imports reached 40.6 million kilograms as of January compared with 17.8 million kilos of pork imports.

“Chicken is already higher than pork imports. That has never happened before,” Inciong said.

Despite the oversupply, there remains a discrepancy in terms of prices. Latest farmgate price is P75 to P80 per kilo while, prevailing retail is at a high of P170 per kilo.

“And even based on the analysis of USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), the situation will seem to continue in terms of imports,” Inciong said.

“Aside from that, there is an intention to increase local production,” he said.

USDA said the Philippines would  hike its chicken meat imports by 13 percent to 390 million kilos from last year’s 345 million kilos.

Local production will also increase by 10 percent while domestic consumption will rise by 13 percent to nearly two billion kilos.

Imports are projected to increase as consumers shift from pork to increasingly price-competitive chicken.

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