MANILA - 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," Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol told reporters yesterday.
He noted that the prices of chicken have fallen to about P38 in some areas and farmers are losing, so "they should all agree to increase the farm gate price by at least P10 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 the second quarter of the year.”
Piñol said he also ordered a review of the volume of chicken being imported 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 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 the 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 P56.1 billion, higher by 19.19 percent compared to 2017 earnings. The subsector’s output also grew by 5.31 percent in the last three quarters of 2018.
Piñol said that under the World Trade Organization 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.
He added that once and for all, stakeholders and farmers "should agree among themselves (on the price of chicken) to protect themselves."*PNA
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