THE Philippines continues to see the arrival of imported chicken despite lower demand, which was the result of stricter lockdown measures being implemented in many areas in the country.
United Broilers Raisers Association (UBRA) Chairman Gregorio San Diego Jr. said there has been a decline in the demand for chicken over the last months amid rising Covid-19 cases, prompting him to criticize the Department of Agriculture (DA) for not doing anything to stop the importation.
“The DA is bent on killing local producers in favor of traders and imports,” San Diego said.
From January to May, there has been an 83 percent increase in the issuance of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Import Clearance (SPS-IC) for chicken, from the amount of SPS-ICs enough to cover 219.4 million kilograms of chicken last year to 401.83 million kilograms, data from Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) data showed.
San Diego said that due to continuous chicken importation, local producers are now losing a lot of money, while the others are now contemplating to abandon the business for good.
Because of the surge of imports, he said that farm-gate prices of chicken fell to as low as P67 per kilogram (/kg), which means producers are no longer making money since the cost of production stood around P80 to P85/kg.
As of August 25, the prevailing retail price of a kilogram of whole chicken at select markets in Metro Manila stood at P160/kg, the price monitoring report of DA showed.
“When the farm-gate price is low, the government doesn’t do anything about,” San Diego said. “But when it’s up, they will address the situation through importation.”
In the end, San Diego said he no longer hopes that Agriculture Secretary William Dar will be able to come up with an intervention that could help the industry, but reiterated that the suspension of importation of chicken will address a lot of problems that poultry raisers are currently dealing with.
“We are on our own,” San Diego said. (PR)