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Championing local producers: Farmers’ group urges extension of chicken import moratorium

By Eileen Mencias

The Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura urged the Department of Agriculture to extend the import moratorium on chicken, after Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. banned imports of onions to protect local producers.

“This game changing policy is a welcome development to local producers. In the agri sector, policies must be timely, appropriate and prompt to reflect the prevailing conditions at the farm level,” SINAG executive director Jayson Cainglet said in a statement.

“We also hope that his pro-local farmer policy can extend across commodities, especially chicken which is experiencing a similar glut in the local market,” he added.

According to the United Broiler Raisers Association, farmgate prices of chicken ranged between P96 and P100 per kilo in the week ending January 19 in Luzon while retail prices in Metro Manila ranged between P160-P216 per kilo.

The DA’s Price Watch or Bantay Presyo on January 19, 2024, meanwhile, placed the price of whole chicken at P140-P220 per kilo.

Cainglet blamed the drop in farmgate prices on the deluge of imports. He said farmgate prices now barely cover production costs because the market is flooded with chicken imports.

In the week ending January 15, data from the National Meat Inspection Service placed the inventory of imported dressed chicken in the country at 37,407 tons while local dressed chicken in cold storage was only at 19,180 tons.

“Unfortunately, the decrease in farmgate prices is not being felt by consumers as chicken prices remain high,” Cainglet said.

SINAG said the local industry will work with the DA to address the problem of the huge disconnect between farmgate and retail prices.

“As a policy, the local agri industry has no problems with imports if the supply is limited or if there are problems with supply for as long as importers declare the right value of imports and pay the right duties,” Cainglet said.

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