Bantayan poultry industry, livelihood suffer due to El Niño

Bantayan poultry industry, livelihood suffer due to El Niño
File photo

THE ongoing El Niño phenomenon has posed significant challenges to the poultry industry of Bantayan Island, Cebu’s egg basket that also supplies to Negros, affecting production and the livelihood of poultry farmers.

“Tungod sa kainit, nanga heatstroke among mga manok. Sa usa ka adlaw, naay mamatay usa or duha, pero dili permi,” said Joseph Allan Pastoril, president of the Bantayan Island Livestock and Hog Raisers Association (BILHRA).

(Due to the intense heat, our chickens are suffering from heatstroke. Occasionally, one or two die in a day, but it's not constant.)

The farmers are also facing financial challenges, because the cost of feed per kilo is higher than the cost of eggs per kilo. The chickens are then well cared for, given vitamins and supplements twice a day to prevent heatstroke and other heat-related illnesses.

The local community, which is heavily reliant on the egg industry for employment, has also felt the strain.

With reduced production, poultry farms have had to lay off workers or cut down on their hours, leading to economic instability for their families. The uncertainty surrounding the duration and intensity of El Niño further exacerbates these issues.

“Nag oversupply me karon. Sixty percent among gina supply every day sa Cebu and Negros. Naa man sad gud traders gikan sa Mindanao nga mag supply sa Cebu,” said Pastoril.

(We are currently experiencing an oversupply. Sixty percent of our daily supply goes to Cebu and Negros, and there are also traders from Mindanao who are supplying Cebu.)

He added that due to the oversupply of eggs, poultry farmers have resorted to selling their stock at lower prices, or even giving them away because of the sheer volume.

Eggs only have a two-week shelf life before they spoil.

He said the decrease in egg prices has reached 20 percent. Last year, they sold eggs for P6 each, compared to P5.40 now.

The cost of each tray of eggs has also dropped from P180 last year to P170 this year. Because of this, they are trying to sell what they can to maintain some capital.

“Nag iyahay na lang mig baligya kay aron naa mi Makita. Nigagmay ang itlog og ni barato sad ang presyo, maong alkansi mi,” said Pastoril.

(We are selling whatever we can just to make ends meet. The eggs are smaller, and the prices have dropped, so we are at a loss.)

He said they do not have a problem with water as they have a sufficient supply, and they maintain water measures.

But Pastoril said the El Niño, characterized by prolonged dry spells and erratic weather patterns, has severely impacted Bantayan Island's poultry activities.

He said despite having a supply of water, vitamins, and supplements for the chickens, the situation remains difficult.

"We are appealing for financial support or subsidies because that is what we need right now," he said. (CAV)

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