ASIDE from rice, the Department of Agriculture (DA) 7 said there would be possible price increases of poultry products as El Niño worsens.

DA 7 Veterinarian Raul Migriño said the dry spell is conducive to the spread of airborne disases and heat stroke to chickens and swine.

Since El Niño affects local food production as it threatens to damage crops, including corn, Migriño said this adds to the possibility of price movements of swine and poultry products.

“There is shortage in local corn. Once corn is very insufficient, prices will go up because 50 to 70 percent of feeds is from corn,” Migriño told reporters during the AGIO Forum on Tuesday at the Philippine Information Agency 7 (PIA) office.

He said corn supply in Central Visayas is not sufficient to meet local demand, hence, poultry raisers are importing.

National Economic and Development Authority 7 Director Efren Carreon earlier noted possible food inflation early to the middle of this year due to El Niño.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronimal Services Administration (PAGASA) forecasts the El Niño to continue up to June. It has warned that the 29 El Niño-affected provinces, which include Cebu, will increase to 34 in March and 68 by April.

Other provinces, part of the 29 that are affected in the Visayas, include Siquijor, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Iloilo, Capiz, Aklan, Antique, Guimaras, Northern Samar, Samar, Biliran, and Eastern Samar.

In a report by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the country’s agricultural production was almost flat last year, inching up by only 0.11 percent. PSA said farm output slowed down due to strong El Niño, coupled with heavy rains brought about by strong typhoons, in the case of Lando, which battered almost the entire island of Luzon.