September 1, 2011

Philippine government sees no need to import chicken amid typhoons


Despite being successively hit by strong typhoons, the Philippines may not import chicken yet as the government said there is an ample supply of chicken meat and no need to authorize a special importation of the produce during the holidays.

Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) Director Efren Nuestro said there is no shortage of chicken but a surplus of chicken meat.

BAI, however, did not give an estimate of the surplus in chicken meat. Department of Agricuture (DA) figures show that as of June 21, the inventory of frozen chicken meat is pegged at 7,642 tonnes or 7.64 million kilograms.

The last time the government authorized the special importation of chicken was in 2009, when the DA announced that it would allow the entry of as much as eight million kilograms of chicken into the Philippines.

The government and the industry agreed on the special importation due to the shortage caused by Tropical Storm Ondoy (international name Ketsana) and Typhoon Pepeng (Parma).

The DA suspended the special safeguard mechanism (SSG) for chicken that was brought in under the special importation scheme.

Under the SSG, chicken importers have to pay additional tariffs for imports coming in at less than the trigger price of PHP94 per kilo.

Citing National Statistics Office (NSO) data as source, the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) disclosed that chicken imports reached 98 million kilos, or 98,000 tonnes, valued at US$58.04 million last year.

The 2010 volume was almost 60 percent higher than the 61.44 million kilos imported in 2009, when there was a special importation of the produce. The government did not authorize a special importation of poultry meat last year.

BAS noted that across quarters in 2010, the volume of chicken meat imports during the first and second quarters was significantly higher by 214.25 percent and 100.01 percent, respectively.

The attached agency of the DA noted that shipments were higher even as the price of imported chicken meat rose by an average of 65.14 percent in 2010.

The government allows the special importation of chicken when there is a shortage usually caused by typhoons. Demand for chicken meat shoots up during the holidays in the Philippines.

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