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Business

DA lifts ban on poultry imports from Belgium

Danessa Rivera - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The decision of the Department of Agriculture (DA) to lift the temporary import ban on poultry products from Belgium is seen easing chicken supply and price issues in the Philippines.

Former agriculture secretary William Dar issued a memorandum order on his last day in office lifting the temporary import ban on domestic, wild birds and their products from the European nation.

This follows the final report of the country’s veterinary authorities to the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH) which states that the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) events are “closed and resolved.”

“Based on the evaluation of the DA the risk of contamination from importing poultry meat, day old chicks, eggs and semen is negligible,” Dar stated in the memorandum.

The Philippine Association of Meat Processors Inc. (PAMPI) welcomed the decision of the DA to finally lift the ban of poultry imports from Belgium.

“This will help ease supply and temper price increases of our vital chicken meat materials and mitigate the impact of the fuel cost increases, global supply chain challenges and other issues brought about by the Russia-Ukraine crisis,” PAMPI said.

It would be recalled that the agriculture department imposed the temporary ban on poultry imports from Belgium in last December.

Prior to the lifting of the ban, the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) said it was looking at Belgium as an alternative source of raw materials.

BAI director Reildrin Morales earlier said the chicken supply has been affected by the increase in spending by families due to the opening of the economy.

Morales cited the restrictions on the movement of live birds, poultry products and by-products due to avian influenza outbreak, which have caused imbalance in the supply chain from region to region.

Morales revealed that producers are holding back production to minimize losses, contributing to the tight supply.

“We hope that the DA under President Marcos’ leadership will facilitate the resumption of trade with other disease-free countries, as it will help stabilize meat prices and address the country’s food security,” PAMPI said.

Last week, the department lifted the temporary bans on poultry imports from Spain, Denmark, and the Czech Republic also due to resolved outbreaks of the avian virus.

Based on the Philippines’ latest report to the WOAH, new outbreaks of the avian virus were detected in Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Isabela, Tarlac, Benguet and Laguna in Luzon.

Likewise, outbreaks were also reported in South Cotabato in Mindanao, particularly in the barangays of Teresita and Katipunan.

In the report, the Philippines said 82,245 birds died of avian flu in Luzon and 198,394 were culled, while 795 birds died of the avian flu virus and 14,302 were culled in Mindanao to stop the spread of the disease.

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