May 15, 2020


Philippine farmers call for poultry import ban



A group of poultry raisers has requested the Philippine government to temporarily restrict the importation of poultry products as they are currently dealing with surplus stocks at the local market, reported Manila Bulletin.


In a letter to the Department of Agriculture (DA), United Broiler Raisers Association (UBRA) "urgently" asked for the importation of poultry meat and poultry products to be suspended due to the oversupply of broilers in the local market.


"Local production has been more than market demand since the beginning of 2020," UBRA told the DA.


On April 24, the DA released its food supply outlook for 2020, showing that, by the end of this year, the Philippines will have a surplus of 253 days in chicken inventory. This means that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the projected supply for poultry products will at least last until the second half of 2021.


This prompted Agriculture Secretary William Dar to make an appeal to the public to consume more chicken than pork, the supply of which is currently on a downtrend.


"The COVID-19 crisis has severely aggravated the situation with the closure of hotels, restaurants and other institutional [HRI] buyers coupled with the restrictions in the movement of goods and people under the ECQ," UBRA said.


Currently, HRI represents at least 30% of the local poultry industry's market.


As of April 20, the inventory for dressed chicken frozen inventory stood at 71.86 million kilos, data from the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) showed. This pertains only to cold storage facilities accredited by the NMIS.


Likewise, based on the broiler breeders in place, 2020 would have been a historical high in terms of poultry production.


"In order to preserve the remaining production potential for 2020, the importation of poultry meat and poultry products must cease as soon as possible so that the industry, especially those at the breeder stage of the value chain, can hold on until times are less volatile," UBRA said.


The group pointed out that such request is not unprecedented since poultry raisers in Europe have similarly asked for similar relief to "prevent" an oversupply crisis in the sector during the pandemic.


DA spokesperson Noel Reyes has been sought for comment regarding this issue, but he has not replied yet.


The Philippines is one of the top importers of chicken in the world alongside China, Japan, Mexico, Hong Kong, South Africa and Russia.


In 2018, the Philippines imported US$124 million worth of poultry products from the US alone, which was up 14% from 2017. The products were mostly broiler meat, live poultry and eggs.