The United Broiler Raisers’ Association (UBRA) clarified on Thursday, July 7, that there is no chicken shortage in the country following reports that at least two fast-food chains were having supply problems.
What the fast-food chains are facing, according to UBRA, is that the chicken supplies that are being delivered to them do not pass their standard over weight issues.
“There is no shortage because, according to the news items, it’s merely a problem of chickens being supplied to these fast foods not meeting the weight standards because these fast-food chains, they have a very narrow rate of weight requirement,” Elias Jose Inciong, the president of UBRA, said during an interview with One News.
He said part of the reason for having such a problem is the low quality of feeds for chickens in the country, which President and Agriculture Secretary Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. noted during a recent media briefing.
“When you compare it to past years, it’s very poor, precisely because the raw materials for feeds—it is of relatively low quality when you compare it to the past,” the president of UBRA said, pertaining to the quality of feeds.
Because of the low quality of feeds, Inciong said the country’s animal nutritionists—some of whom are the best in the world—are “going crazy trying to adjust their formulations.”
Another reason, he cited, was that growers are conservative as they expect contraction after the conduct of elections.
Broiler raisers, he said, prefer local corn as it is normally of better quality and the energy levels are more stable.
But Inciong said that, in the past three years, local corn farmers have had no conference because, in 2020, a large portion of their market disappeared as their customer hog farmers have been badly affected by the African Swine Fever or ASF.
Thus, a significant portion disappeared so corn farmers reduced their production.
“They reduced production to such an extent that from a price range from P14 to P16 in the past two years, it is now up to P22 to 23 and that is part of the thing that needs correcting, and it was mentioned by the President, we need to restore the confidence of primarily the farmers, especially the poor farmers with due respect to us,” the UBRA president noted.
Inciong also noted that the confidence of farmers eroded when the former administration of the agriculture department “had the propensity to issue or announce special importation.”
“When I say special importation, in the nomenclature of the World Trade Organization (WTO), irregular importation is based on tariff rates as you committed to the WTO. Special importation means you are reducing the tariff rate so that you can help the importers import, and because of that propensity, confidence eroded not only with respect to corn but in the entire sector,” he said.
The President recently made a pronouncement that he wants to increase the supply of grains such as rice and corn, ordering the officials of the Department of Agriculture to ensure that there’s ample and affordable supply of the said grains.
Marcos took note of the lack of feed production, saying it is the reason why the country needs to import chicken products.
“Nagkakaproblema na naman tayo sa food supply nung mga — ‘yung production natin is not sufficient again (We again encountered a problem on food supply—our production is insufficient),” he said