MANILA - Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto on Wednesday opposed the Department of Agriculture’s plan to increase poultry imports amid a supply glut in local market.
In a statement, the lawmaker slammed the agency’s move to limit local production of poultry to give way to foreign producers.
“At a time when we have to ramp up agricultural production in order to put affordable food on the table of Filipinos who have lost jobs, why this counterintuitive suggestion to limit production of the country’s main protein source?” he said.
“The farm sector is the economy’s savior and safety net, and a job generator amidst massive layoffs. The only way for the food industry to absorb the unemployed is for it to increase and not decrease its yield,” he added.
Citing a May 2020 data from DA, the country’s chicken supply is sufficient amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Recto said.
He said supply would last for a minimum of 160 days and a maximum of 314 days. Food sufficiency level is estimated between 136 percent to 183 percent.
“All of the three projections point to a surplus. If such is the case, why encourage imports? Kung 136 percent hanggang 183 percent ang chicken sufficiency forecast, bakit mag-aangkat pa?” Recto said.
He added, “And why should an agency whose sole mandate is to boost food production advise Filipino chicken raisers to scale down their output to give market space for dressed chicken coming from abroad?”
United Broilers and Raisers’ Association president Elias Jose Inciong, in a letter sent to the DA, earlier criticized the agency’s order to local chicken growers to limit production.
“In the kindest possible terms, this is one of the most bizarre thinking that ever emanated from the DA. The incongruence is glaring,” he said.