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DA enforces measures vs rising chicken prices

Catherine Talavera - The Philippine Star
DA enforces measures vs rising chicken prices
Latest market monitors from the DA show that the prevailing price of whole chicken stood at P200 a kilo yesterday, higher than the P185 per kilo a month ago.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture (DA) is carrying out interventions to address the continued rise in the prices of poultry and poultry products in the markets.

In a statement, the DA said these interventions include easing restrictions of movements of poultry products, conducting regular validations and monitoring of supply scenarios, sourcing alternative local feed ingredients and lifting import bans for poultry products, among others.

Latest market monitors from the DA show that the prevailing price of whole chicken stood at P200 a kilo yesterday, higher than the P185 per kilo a month ago.

The current price is also P40 higher than the P160 per kilo price exactly a year ago.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar called the issue of rising chicken prices a double-edged sword.

“On one hand, we see increased demand for poultry products from pent-up demand resulting from the pandemic. On the other hand, we see a drop in output as poultry producers hold back on production due to several factors, including rising prices of inputs and poultry diseases,” Dar said.

As part of its interventions, the DA said the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) has issued special import permits for autogenous vaccines to support disease prevention, particularly inclusion body hepatitis, a viral disease that is resistant to several disinfectants, heat and pH changes.

Dar said the DA is conducting dialogues with other countries for the possible sourcing of alternative feed ingredients to lower production cost of the poultry sector.

“The policy brief on regionalization with trading partners has also been reevaluated to allow the importation of poultry from non-infected areas outside the control areas,” the DA said.

It added that memorandum orders on lifting of importation ban from Spain, Denmark and the Czech Republic have already been finalized to allow the sourcing of raw materials for breeding.

Meanwhile, the DA said the BAI is also looking at Belgium as an alternative source of raw materials, adding that the lifting of the ban on poultry imports is now being finalized.

In his report to Dar, BAI director Reildrin Morales said smooth flow of farm products must be ensured both by the local and national governments.

Morales explained that the opening of the economy has led to increased spending by families on meat and poultry products.

However, he stressed that restrictions on the movement of live birds, poultry products and by-products due to avian influenza outbreak have caused imbalance in the supply chain from region to region.

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

New Outbreaks were also reported in the province of South Cotabato in Mindanao, particularly in the barangays of Teresita and Katipunan.

In its report, the Philippines said 82,245 birds died of avian flu in Luzon and 198,394 were culled to stop its spread.

In Mindanao, 795 birds died of the avian flu virus and 14,302 were culled to stop the spread of the disease.

Morales said that supply is tight, as producers are holding back production to minimize losses.

“The poor quality of inputs coupled with animal diseases can also be blamed,” Morales said in his report, adding that the rising cost of feed ingredients has forced some producers to re-formulate, which affected the growth rate of flock.

Dar emphasized that climate conditions and unstable temperature regulation also play a critical role during the period affecting the growth of poultry birds.

“Climate change plays a major role since most of the poultry housing in the Philippines is still conventional. But even with tunnel-ventilated housing, the fluctuating weather conditions still present a big challenge in adjusting temperatures in the farm,” he said.

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