August 16, 2021


Tough COVID-19 measures could significantly rattle Philippines poultry sector, says industry official



A possible extension of the strictest COVID-19 quarantine settings in the Philippines will be very damaging to the country's poultry industry especially for small producers, said an industry association.


Elias Jose M. Inciong, president of United Broiler Raisers Association, said the extension and rising COVID-19 cases would not bode well for consumption.


"It will be hard on the industry especially the small and medium enterprises. Normally, prolonged disruptions cause industry concentration," said Inciong.


He added that poultry producers will also need to deal with increasing production costs.


Citing data from the Philippine College of Poultry Practitioners, Inciong said the average farmgate price of yellow corn in July was at ₱17.8/kg (US$0.35), higher than the ₱16.5/kg (US$0.33) recorded in June.


"The big corporations have the finances to ride out that kind of lockdown. In fact, it benefits them as it kills their competition. For ordinary producers, it can be a fatal or very damaging experience," said Inciong.


There have been calls to extend the Philippines' enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila as a result of surging COVID-19 cases. Metro Manila was placed under ECQ on August 6-20.


However, business groups such as the Employers Confederation of the Philippines are opposing the extension to preserve jobs and keep the economy from sustaining further damage.


Philippine Egg Board Association chairman Gregorio A. San Diego, Jr. said eggs are currently in surplus due to lower consumption coupled with increased production.


"Egg production went up due to the increased number of layer breeders," said San Diego, Jr.


He added that the lowest farmgate prices for chicken eggs monitored by the group was below ₱3 (US$0.06) for small eggs and below ₱4 (US$0.08) for medium eggs.


"This is compared to the price of more than ₱5 (US$0.10) for medium eggs at the high and more than ₱4 for small eggs. Another problem is the high cost of feed right now such as yellow corn. Around 50% of feed by volume is yellow corn," said San Diego, Jr. "The wholesale price varies depending on the inventory of egg farms. But the prices go down due to old eggs. The government should regulate the entry of layer breeders."

The Philippine Statistics Authority estimated that the value of production in the agriculture sector fell 1.5% in the second quarter after output from the livestock and fisheries subsectors dropped 19.3% and 1.1%, respectively.


Meanwhile, the poultry sub-sector's production rose 2.5% while crop output increased 3.1%.


- BusinessWorld