Demand for chicken in the Philippines is not yet picking up despite the start of the Christmas season, and the local poultry industry is not expecting a recovery anytime soon.
United Broilers Raisers Association (UBRA) Chairman Gregorio San Diego Jr. told Business Bulletin that one of the biggest problems in the poultry industry is still low demand, worsened by the continuous entry of imported supply.
“This is a big problem for us. The demand is still low. People don’t have enough money and food has given way to some more important home expenditures like water, electricity, phone bills, and internet,” San Diego said.
Aside from low demand, San Diego said local raisers are still competing with a lot of imported supply, which is making it extra hard for them to deal with rising production costs.
“The broiler industry is still struggling amid the increase in imports that the government is promoting aggressively. This, coupled with the very high feed cost today. Yellow corn is now P20.50/kg , coco oil is P90/kg from P65/kg, and soya is P49.30/kg from P27kg. We are really losing money,” San Diego said.
Yellow corn, a source of energy for animals, makes up 40 to 60 percent of animal feeds. These, in turn, account for 60 to 70 percent of the cost of producing meat and poultry products.
As of November 4, the prevailing retail price of whole dressed chicken is P160/kg, based on the price monitoring of the Department of Agriculture (DA).
At farmgate, the average price for regular-size chicken (live) stood at P96/kg, while off-size chicken (live) costs at the average price of P95/kg, according to the latest weekly price monitoring of UBRA.
In September, the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) here in Manila (Post) made a forecast, saying that the Philippines’ “chicken meat imports for 2022 are forecast at 400,000 MT while 2021 imports are revised to 420,000 MT”.
This, according to Post, is “based on robust trade to date and the return of some European suppliers to the market”.
“Chicken meat is expected to continue supplementing some of the demand for pork, which will remain under pressure from ASF . Chicken exports to the Philippines through July 2021 are 36 percent higher than 2020, with North American and Brazilian poultry showing robust growth,” Post said.
“The Philippines recently resumed imports of a few key European countries following Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza-related bans, boosting sources for mechanically deboned meat , an affordable protein source used in meat processing,” it added.
The Philippines' biggest sources for imported chicken meat are the United States, Brazil, and the European Union.