The country’s chicken production went down from October to December of last year but it didn’t result in higher farm-gate prices, the latest data from Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed.
Based on the PSA data, the country’s total chicken production from October to December 2020 was estimated at 484.36 thousand metric tons (MT), liveweight, which is lower by 7.9 percent compared with the previous year’s same quarter output of 526.10 thousand MT, liveweight.
Among the regions, Central Luzon was the top producer of chicken during the quarter with 167.79 thousand MT, liveweight.
This was followed by CALABARZON with 81.66 thousand MT, liveweight, and Northern Mindanao with 51.57 thousand MT, liveweight.
Combined, these three regions accounted for 62.1 percent of the country’s total chicken production.
Compared with their levels in the same period of a year ago, 12 regions posted decreases in production during the period with CALABARZON, recording the biggest decline of 17.0 percent.
In particular, this region registered a production of 81.66 thousand metric tons, liveweight this quarter, from the 98.39 thousand MT, liveweight in the fourth quarter of 2019.
As of January this year, the total chicken inventory in the country was estimated at 179.78 million birds. This was 0.9 percent higher than the 178.26 million birds recorded in the same period of 2020.
Native/improved chicken and layer chicken inventory increased by 3.1 percent and 4.2 percent, respectively, but stocks of broiler chicken decreased by 4.7 percent.
Despite the decline in production, which normally pushes the prices upward, the average farmgate price of broiler chicken in commercial farms during the quarter went down from P91.24 per kilogram (/kg), liveweight, during the same period last year to P87.44/kg, liveweight.
During the period, the highest farmgate price was recorded in December at P93.82/kg, liveweight, while the lowest was quoted in October at P78.07/kg, liveweight.
In a previous interview, United Broiler Raisers Association (UBRA) President Bong Inciong said the crisis being felt in the poultry industry now was brought about by COVID-19 lockdown restrictions and the government’s decision not to stop poultry importation last year.
To recall, the Philippines experienced some sort of a supply glut in chicken at the early part and up to the middle of 2020 because lockdown restrictions resulted in the temporary closure of restaurants and hotels, which takes up the bulk of the supply for this farm commodity.
At the time, the poultry industry appealed to DA to temporarily stop the importation of poultry but such a request was not granted.
As a result, Inciong said a lot of poultry raisers decided to leave the business and decided to shift into another livelihood such as egg production, eventually pulling down the supply of chicken.
“The situation is serious for us,” Inciong said. “We have never experienced anything like this”.
As of Thursday, the prevailing price of a kilo of fully dressed chicken at select markets in Metro Manila averages at P170/kg to P190/kg.
This was four days since Executive Order (EO) 124 took effect on Monday, setting a 60-day price ceiling on pork and chicken within Metro Manila.
To be specific, it mandated a price cap of P160/kg for whole dressed chicken.
Inciong thinks the new price ceiling on chicken is too low, and may “not actually solve anything”.
This, since the current price of day-old chicks, which are raised to become broilers, is now at an all-time high of P50 apiece.