The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) on Monday urged the Department of Agriculture (DA) to regulate the volume of imported chicken until local demand and supply stabilize.

In an interview, Trade Undersecretary for Cosumer Protection Group Ruth Castelo also called on retailers to lower retail prices of chicken to P100 per kilogram (kg) as farmgate prices already reached P38/kg in some areas of the country.

“The [farmgate] price is really low. The DA should make sure that importation will be lessened. Data showed that the importation last year is really high,” said Castelo.

Data provided by Castelo revealed that for January to November 2018, importation of chicken leg quarter alone already reached 61.43 million kgs, significantly higher compared to the 44.83 million kgs imported in 2017.

The highest volume of imports last year was recorded in November when it reached 8.63 million kgs from 2.61 million kgs a year earlier.

Earlier, the DA said the oversupply of chicken resulted in the drop of farmgate prices. Despite the drop in farmgate price however, retail prices of chicken especially in wet markets are still high.

“We are urging retailers to bring down chicken prices. To help farmers dispose their goods faster, the retail price should be lowered. In some supermarkets, the retail price is already P90 to P100 per kilo. In wet market, there are some selling P100 per kilogram but there are also those who sell P140 to P160,” said Castelo.

Castelo fears that if the situation worsens, local poultry raisers might get out of the business and the country will have to rely on importation.

To address the issue, DA Secretary Emmanuel Pinol earlier proposed that poultry industry raisers increase the farmgate price of chicken by at least P10 per week until such time that they are no longer incurring losses.

The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) however opposed the proposal, noting that such move violates the Philippine Competition Act.