March 23, 2020


Philippines seen to buy more imported pork, chicken due to ASF


As the African swine fever (ASF) continues to affect some areas in the Philippines and pull down its local supply, the country is expected to buy more pork and chicken from the global market.


In the latest report of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service, the Philippines is seen importing 300,000 tonnes of pork meat this year, 25% higher than last year's 240,000 tonnes.


This as domestic production will decline by 8.5% to 1.45 million tonnes from 1.585 million tonnes in 2019.


"The Department of Agriculture has announced that about 2% or 237,000 pigs of the country's total 12.8 million hogs have been culled. However, other industry experts have mentioned that up to 30% of hogs may be affected by the disease," USDA said.


It also said that, "although lower than the previous year due to reduced supply, pork demand is seen to normalise from the drop in late 2019. Consumers initially had concerns about the safety of pork during the initial spread of the disease, but demand has since recovered."


Consumption was also lower by 4% to 1.749 million tonnes from 1.824 million tonnes as consumers shift to chicken meat.


The Philippines will also hike its chicken meat imports by 4% to 360,000 tonnes from last year's 345,000 tonnes.


Local production which will only increase by 10% to 1.6 million tonnes will not be able to meet additional domestic consumption of nearly two million tonnes.


"Broiler raisers continue to ramp up production to augment the decline in pork production from ASF," the USDA projected.


This year's chicken meat import projection was lowered from the earlier 390,000 tonnes due to possible delays in shipments and supply disruptions from the spread of the COVID-19 disease.


The industry has reported ample stocks of imported and local chicken in cold storage facilities due to some slowdown in demand related to COVID-19, particularly by the fast food chains and quick service restaurants.


The USDA also said beef production is expected to increase marginally at 205,000 tonnes due to attractive prices.


However, limited pasture lands and a lack of new breeding animals will be a constraint on further growth.


The delays in trade caused by increased COVID-19 restrictions will also place more pressure on local beef prices, as over half of supply is imported.