Filipinos can expect higher meat prices as the cost of animal feed ingredients, primarily corn and soybean, has been on an uptrend worldwide.
In a virtual briefing on Monday, Feb. 22, Asis Perez, convenor of food security advocacy group Tugon Kabuhayan, has raised concerns over the rising prices of corn and soybean, which are the primary ingredients in animal feed manufacturing.
“The cost to produce meat protein will be increasing in the Philippines and worldwide,” Perez said. “This is an emerging challenge for us.”
Citing international data, Perez said the price of corn spiked from $171.79 per metric ton (MT) in January 2020 to $234.47 per MT in January 2021.
The cost of soybean, on the other hand, significantly increased from $387.05 per MT in January 2020 to $576.3 per MT in January of this year.
To be specific, corn comprises 60 percent of the ingredients for the production of animal feeds, while the cost of feeds takes up 80 percent of the cost of meat and chicken production.
Aside from corn, soybean is also a preferred source of protein in the production of animal feed.
Perez, who is also former director of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), said that even cheaper imported meat is going to be affected by the increasing prices of animal feeds.
To recall, the Department of Agriculture (DA) has identified more importation as one of the solutions to address the increasing pork prices in Metro Manila and nearby areas.
Such price pressure was a result of the persistence of African Swine Fever (ASF) in the country, which already resulted in the culling and death of more than 500,000 hogs.
ASF was also the reason why some raisers decided to either cut their swine production or totally abandon hog raising and shift to other livelihoods, pulling down the country’s pork output.
In terms of animal feed usage, a kilogram (kg) of pork and beef have the highest feed requirements of about 4 kg to 6 kg of feeds.
Chicken production requires up to 1.5 kg of feeds, depending on the size, while fish has the least feed requirements of around 1.2 kg.
Perez said that fish prices will be the least affected if prices of corn and soybean will continue to rise.
That is why, he said, the government should also focus on the sustainability and growth of fish production in the country.
Tugon Kabuhayan is an advocacy group helping Filipino farmers by promoting domestic production, food safety and security and environmental protection, among others.
Perez said the group is now trying to come up with a set of recommendations on how to deal with this threat of the rising cost of meat in the Philippines.