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Philippines Leans on Pork as Chicken Price Flies

by 5m Editor
25 March 2010, at 9:46am

PHILIPPINES - The government is projecting a shortfall in pork in the second quarter, even as poultry supply is seen to remain ample.

Davinio Catbagan, chief veterinary officer of the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), told The Manila Times.net on Wednesday that the country would suffer a shortfall of between five and 10 million kilograms of port until June.

This is despite the traditionally low demand for pork in the second quarter of the year.

“At present, we have a cold store inventory of 4 to 5 million kilograms [of pork]. However, even if the low demand cited by the Bureau of Animal Statistics were accurate we are still preparing for the possible gap in the supply,“ Mr Catbagan said.

The farm gate price for pork stands at P113 on the average, which the official said is stable from two months ago. However, this average price is still on the high side given the regular farm gate price of P106 or even lower. The retail price for pork is P165 to P180.

Mr Catbagan blamed the lean supply of pork on the series of typhoons last year and the recent disease outbreak. To bridge the supply gap, the Philippines mainly imports pork from Canada, the official said.

“It really depends on the demand, but while the demand is low, there is still an expected shortfall,“ he said. “However, people now are not really buying pork, most particularly when it reached P190 or even P200.“

Mr Catbagan also said the country has an average inventory of 7 million kilos of chicken, of which about 5 million kilos are imported. He said the country has a surplus of 3 to 4 million.

“This could be factored in to the significant difference of the farm gate price of chicken versus the retail price,“ he said.

The farm gate price for a kilo of chicken stands at P58, while it retails for P135 to P140. Catbagan said that the price difference is “unjustifiable.“

In a move to address the price difference, the Department of Agriculture has met with industry players to impose a suggested retail price or price band of P125 for every kilo, the official said.

“They are in fact willing to bring down their price to P125, which is by the way, effective immediately,“ he said.