Amid high pork and chicken prices, the Philippine government must now find a way to boost the production of alternative protein sources such as rabbit meat and plant-based food.
Based on a study published by the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), the high pork prices now, while painful and unfavorable to consumers, is an opportunity for the country to start exploring alternative protein sources.
“In the short run, this will be chicken, but it should be expanded to other options (i.e rabbit) but eventually plant-based sources of protein (i.e soybeans and nuts),” according to the study prepared by the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics of the College of Economics and Management of UPLB.
Citing Dr. Eufemio Rasco from the National Academy of Science and Technology, the study also said that the food of the future should be more plant-based. There is already a global movement exploring plant-based diets that are good for both people and the environment.
EAT, for example, is a global non-profit startup dedicated to transforming food systems in the world.
Likewise, there is said to be growing rabbit meat production in the Visayas, particularly Cebu.
As of Thursday, the prevailing price of pork at select markets in Metro Manila stood at P270 per kilogram (/kg) to P320/kg, while a kilo of whole dressed chicken costs around P160/kg to P180/kg.
This is nearly two weeks since the government imposed a new price ceiling on these commodities.
For pork kasim, in particular, the price ceiling stood at P270/kg, while it is P300/kg for pork liempo. The new price cap for chicken is P160/kg.
Before the African Swine Fever (ASF), a fatal animal disease among swine, hit the country in 2019, the average cost per kilo of pork was said to be only around P190 to P200/kg, while United Broiler Raisers Association (UBRA) is claiming that the new price cap for chicken is too low given the potential shortfall in broiler meat within the year.
The UPLB study said that with what’s going on in the hog industry right now, it is important for the Philippine government to ensure sufficient chicken supply.
“It should be noted, however, that even breeder broiler farms (the suppliers of Day Old Chicks) are also facing inadequacy of birds from which they could produce hatching eggs for chicken meat production, leading also to low supply relative to increasing demand,” the study said.
“As a result of this, price of culled layers is also now on the rise. Another very important concern to factor in is the issue of supply of feed ingredients and therefore their prices as well. Poultry industry players are already facing price increases for soya because again supply is not enough,” it added.