Agri chief wants chicken included in coronavirus aid to reduce oversupply

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 28 2020 07:31 AM | Updated as of Aug 28 2020 07:45 AM

Watch more in iWantTFC

MANILA — Agriculture Secretary William Dar said Friday he was working with several agencies to include chicken in the government’s pandemic aid and reduce its oversupply.

The chicken supply swelled after “institutional buyers” like restaurants and homegrown fast-food chain Jollibee cut down operations during several months of lockdown meant to arrest the spread of COVID-19, he said.

If no government intervention is made, by the end of the year, there will be an oversupply of chicken good for 3 months, Dar told ABS-CBN’s TeleRadyo.

The oversupply has brought down chicken farm gate prices to P50 from P70 about 2 weeks ago, said United Broilers Association president Elias Inciong.

“Malaking kalugihan na iyan sa mga producer,” he said in a separate TeleRadyo interview.

(That’s a big loss for producers.)

Watch more in iWantTFC

Dar said there had been “initial talks” among broiler groups and the social and welfare department so that chicken could be included in food packs for indigent families.

The agriculture chief said he would also urge the labor department make chicken part of its assistance for displaced workers.

Inciong urged the government to reduce imported poultry, which competes with the local supply.

Pork meanwhile is experiencing a “tightness in supply” due to high demand and outbreaks of African swine fever (ASF) in 26 provinces, he said.

While lockdowns helped slow down the disease that causes fatal hemorrhage in pigs, some traders continue to slaughter and sell infected hogs, he said.

Dar urged the public to watch out for spots of blood that appear like polka dots on pork, which is a sign of ASF, and ensure that sellers have a meat inspection certificate.

The lean pork supply can be augmented with imports, if needed, he said.