October 2, 2023
Imports hamper Philippines' poultry industry's development, say industry, government officials
Imports in recent years have led to huge opportunity losses for the Philippines' poultry industry, as the country's Department of Agriculture (DA) aims to reverse these losses and give the Philippines better food security, an official said.
At the recent Poultry Forum 2023, Agriculture Undersecretary Deogracias Victor B. Savellano echoed Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s call to raise local livestock and poultry production by five times within the next five years.
He noted that chicken meat imports have been rising consistently over the last 15 years, from 45.772 million kilos in 2008, 67.264 million kilos in 2009, 101.957 million kilos in 2010, 127.227 million kilos in 2011, to 411.069 million kilos last year.
United Broilers and Raisers Association (UBRA) chairman Gregorio San Diego said during the forum that imports have displaced local production worth an estimated ₱58.28 billion (US$1 billion) or about 299.36 million broiler chickens.
Imports, San Diego said, also affected 315.12 million day-old broilers with an estimated value of ₱9.138 billion (US$157 million) and 2.52 million broiler breeders worth ₱756.29 million (US$13 million). Lost sales from chicken byproducts — head, feet, intestines, and blood — totaled ₱5.98 billion (US$106 million), he added.
Both officials noted that imports also lead to lost employment opportunities in feed milling, trucking and dressing plants, as well as foregone feed sales of about ₱4.87 billion (US$88 million).
Foregone sales from biologics such as animal vaccines, vitamins, antibiotics, and disinfectants were estimated at ₱3.63 billion (US$71 million).
Savellano also emphasised the significance of a sound indemnification programme to encourage farmers to report cases of African swine fever and avian influenza or bird flu to be able to contain these diseases and prevent an outbreak.
"Right now, nobody is reporting. We really need to fund this programme," he said.
Savellano said the government will pursue all means to raise livestock and poultry production to achieve food security to go along with raising farmers' profit and lowering farm product prices while ensuring the availability of sources of protein for consumers.
"Recommendations from various sectors are currently being heard and studied to learn how, when and where government actions are to be applied to boost our poultry sector," he said.
"We have started to meet with stakeholders to strategise a common direction and priorities in order to significantly increase our local food production, making it efficient, robust and profitable for farmers," the DA official added.
Savellano said that as food security is national security, raising local agricultural production will be prioritised and will be realized through a consultative approach to governance.
"We will find ways to produce more to lessen importations," he said. "By consulting with livestock associations on how much each sector can produce, we will know the actual demand. It will be the consideration in determining the minimal quantity of imports."
- Manila Standard