WHILE poultry and hog supplies in Central Visayas are adequate, these are not enough to bring down increasing prices in the market, according to the Department of Agriculture in Central Visayas (DA 7).

DA 7 Officer-in-Charge Joel Elumba said on Monday, June 20, 2022 people should start planting vegetables to grow their own food.

Elumba said the increased prices of market commodities specifically hog and poultry products are mainly caused by the restrictions implemented in Central Visayas due to the threat of Avian influenza (AI) or the bird flu virus and the African swine fever (ASF) on pigs.

The AI virus started infecting chickens and birds in several areas of Luzon, Mindanao, and other countries in April, while the ASF has been affecting some areas of the National Capital Region (NCR) since 2019.

This led Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia to issue executive orders banning meat and poultry products from Luzon, Mindanao, and other areas affected by AI and ASF.

The governor’s orders were later adapted by Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama and Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes.

Bohol and Negros also implemented stricter anti-AI and ASF measures.

Elumba explained that because of these limitations, major poultry and pig suppliers from other areas in Central Visayas and other regions are having a hard time shipping out their products.

“There are added requirements in shipping poultry and pig products because of these limitations such as the chicks need to undergo a blood test first and other examinations to ensure their safety from the Avian virus,” said Elumba.

“Because of these, there is a delay in delivery, causing the scarcity. We must remember that without the chicks, there would be no chicken to butcher. It is the same thing for pigs,” he added.

Elumba also cited the ongoing war between Ukraine and Russia which is causing the erratic spiraling of fuel prices as another factor that led to the price increases.

Data from the DA 7 show that prices of basic poultry products such as dressed chicken have gone up by at least P50 with an average current cost of P220 per kilo compared to P170 per kilo before the EOs were implemented.

The prices of basic hog products such as lean meat also increased from P300 per kilo to P320, according to the DA 7 data.

However, Elumba assured that in terms of food security, Central Visayas remains at an advantage with its “strategic position” as net importer.

Elumba said people in the region would not have to worry about insufficient food supply as other regions market their agriculture and fishery products here.

With the increasing prices of market commodities, Elumba called on people to start planting vegetables, especially those who have lawns.

“We need to start planting vegetables on our own to supply food for our families. It is the only way we will survive from famine when all goods would increase their price,” he said.