Broiler growers in Odiongan on Monday appealed to the Department of Agriculture (DA) to ease the importation of frozen chicken meat in view of the prevailing oversupply situation, leading to declining revenues for the local poultry industry.
The call coincided with the DA’s efforts in this province to form a Regional Value Chain Analysis of the poultry sector, with the aim of addressing problems and expanding opportunities available to growers.
In an interview, Gregorio San Diego, chairman of the United Broilers Raisers Association (UBRA), said that allowing the almost unabated importation of chicken meat at this time is proving counterproductive to domestic growers because there is already a glut in the market.
“We (local poultry raisers) can easily fill the volumes needed for domestic consumption, so it is unnecessary to flood the market with imported chicken. Local consumers also do not realize that much of these (imported chicken) have been frozen for months or even years,” he explained.
Meanwhile, PJ Montoya, Odiongan’s municipal livestock coordinator, confirmed that some of the poultry raisers in this town have expressed apprehension over competition from chicken importers, who are able to sell their products at a lower price.
These insights were gleaned last week when the Odiongan Municipal Agriculture Office and the DA’s Philippine Rural Development Project – Mimaropa jointly conducted two days of focus group discussions (FGDs) with the town’s poultry operators.
The town official told the Philippine News Agency that it was the government’s objective to find out what technologies and processes chicken farmers are using to remain competitive in the contemporary food production landscape.
He said the data amassed from such FGDs will help guide the DA and its provincial counterparts in formulating policies to support the livestock sector.
“It (FGD) helped us learn their sentiments, as well as their strengths and weaknesses,” Montoya said in Filipino.
Odiongan is a second-class municipality in Romblon whose economy is largely driven by its developed swine and poultry industry.
For his part, San Diego explained that imported chicken can be sold cheaper than those locally grown because they are usually surplus from countries whose poultry sector enjoys government subsidy.
The UBRA chair said chicken importation also has not resulted in lower retail prices of dressed chicken.
“The farm gate price of chicken today can go as low as PHP87 per kilo, or a high of PHP96 per kilo, but retail prices still range from PHP180 to PHP200 per kilo,” said San Diego.
UBRA is a nationwide association of poultry growers, whose membership includes poultries of various sizes. (MG/PNA)