THE Department of Agriculture (DA) should establish a monitoring system for chicken imports to aid local raisers from tough competition amid excessive importation, the United Broilers and Raisers Associationn (UBRA) said on Monday.
During its recent meeting with Agriculture Secretary William Dar and officials from the Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food Inc, UBRA urged the DA to put in place a system for data monitoring of Customs Bonded Warehouse (CBW) of chicken imports.
The group said the continued deluge of chicken imports has adversely affected small producers. In 2018, chicken imports peaked at a record 310 million kilos.
Local chicken raisers have been suffering from the influx of imported chicken and plummeting farmgate prices of the commodity.
UBRA President Bong Inciong earlier told The Manila Times that no “timely data” were made available to stakeholders of the poultry industry which could present understanding of the overall supply and consumption in the country. The absence of such, he said, has made the local poultry producers suffer from supply glut.
“[In the past], DA has shown no institutional commitment to address unfair trade and smuggling. They can’t even present data on customs bonded importation,” Inciong said in a statement on Monday.
“It is so obvious that there’s irresponsibility on the part of the government. When you say customs bonded warehouse, you’re supposed to [use imports for manufacturing input] and re-export, but DA has no data showing what is being re-exported,” he added.
Although 30 percent of these CBW imports are allowed to be distributed to local markets such as supermarkets and wet markets, such volume has to be paid with tariffs, Incong pointed out, noting that there is no record available that could show the paid tariffs.
“Here is where we find it hard to look up to government. They have a mandate to develop local industries. How can you develop your industry if you don’t have data, how can you manage?” he said.
Inciong feared that if importation of chicken would not be monitored, and massive importation would continue, poultry growers would be pushed to quit raising chickens.
Data monitoring of imports, he said, will be pivotal in helping raise small poultry raisers’ income amid global trade liberalization.
“The mindset of government is more imports, more local players will be forced to be competitive. But the government is the one that’s not competitive because it doesn’t provide the sector the amount of subsidy other governments provide their agri sector,” said Inciong.
Chicken imports consistently increased from 135 million kilos in 2012, 141 million kilos in 2013; 177 million kilos in 2014; 198 million kilos in 2015; 232 million kilos in 2016; 244 million kilos in 2017; and 310 million kilos in 2018.