• No chicken shortage, but production at critical level – DA

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    There is no shortage in the supply of chicken in the country, but production will remain at critical levels until September as growers adjust their operations following typhoon Glenda, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said on Monday.

    DA Undersecretary for Livestock Jose Reaño told reporters that current production in northern and southern Luzon are just enough to meet the National Capital Region and Greater Metro Manila’s monthly requirement of 20 million kilos.

    “The supply-demand situation is within the same level. So if anything happens, any major weather disturbances, it will significantly affect our production. We have a critical period of one month before the situation normalizes,” Reaño said.

    The DA official said that the recent typhoon affected major poultry production areas in Region 4A, with losses amounting to about 8 to 11 million kilos of chicken to be produced from July to December 2014.

    “Logistically, Region 4A [Laguna, Batangas, and Cavite] is closer to Metro Manila. So a disruption in the supply chain may have driven the prices up. But they are now catching up with their production, so we expect the situation to normalize within next month,” he said.

    Reaño stressed that a shortage in supply is “a remote possibility,” noting that there are over three million kilos of chicken still in inventory.

    “We are producing on a daily basis, and it will only take 31 days to grow chicken. So there’s no reason for a shortage in supply of poultry products,” he said, adding that the supply chain from Region 3, the country’s top chicken producing region, was not affected by the recent typhoon.

    At present, prices of chicken in retail markets continued to be “stable” at P145 per kilo.

    Farm-gate prices of live chicken were also at normal levels of P100 to P105 per kilo.

    Meanwhile, Reaño said that they are now looking into the cause of delays in the arrival of chicken imports, adding that the Manila port congestion and its truck ban may be the reason for the current price hike.

    In the first half of 2014, Manila imported over 12 million kilos of chicken (leg quarter) from the United States, Canada, and Germany. For 2014, the DA official said that chicken imports could reach a total of 42 million kilos.

    “If nothing goes wrong, the delay in the arrival of the imported chicken is expected to stabilize in November,” he said.

    To ease pressure on the suppliers, Reaño advised consumers to temporarily shift from chicken to other meat products and take advantage of the lower prices of pork, beef, and fish. He also said that they have no plans to impose a price ceiling or suggested retail price for chicken, saying that arresting market forces will only prompt broiler growers to further cut production.

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