PHILIPPINES - The Philippine Department of Agriculture is to closely monitor inventories of poultry meat and price movements down to the farmgate level to address what it calls a "temporary tightness" in the supply of the commodity due to "distribution issues".
However, the ministry has said there is no shortage of chicken meat.
In a statement, the Department of Agriculture said it is open to the idea of imports to boost domestic stock and help ensure there is adequate and affordable supply in both wet markets and groceries.
"Definitely, there is no such thing as shortage," Agriculture Undersecretary for Livestock Jose Reaño told reporters after touring Commonwealth Market in Quezon City Tuesday morning with Undersecretary Victorio Mario Dimagiba of the Department of Trade and Industry and DA Assistant Secretary Leandro Gazmin.
"Supply is tight because of distribution problems as growers adjust their operations following typhoon Glenda," he said.
At the Commonwealth Market, prevailing market price stood at P150 per kilo for dressed whole chicken as of Tuesday, which according to DA and DTI officials remained acceptable since consumers can still actually haggle to as low as P140 per kilo. Farm-gate prices of live chicken were also at normal levels of P100 to P105 per kilo.
Reaño also noted the availability of dressed chicken weighing 1.4 kilos to 1.6 kilos apiece, indicating here is no problem in the inventory of birds as raisers "could still afford to wait for right weight" before selling it to traders.
According to Gazmin, who is also the concurrent chief of DA’s Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service, the farmgate price of chicken had actually gone up based on their initial check. But as part of efforts to determine the real cause of the farmgate price increases, the DA secured the commitment of poultry growers to check their ranks and immediately address any concern.
Gazmin said DA and DTI agreed to regularly monitor the market in a bid to balance the interests and welfare of both the consumers and producers.
Meanwhile, Dimagiba said DTI will go after "profiteers" or retailers who will be found to be making unjustified increases in chicken prices. Under the Price Act, a person found profiteering and hoarding may be jailed for between five and 15 years as well as pay a fine of between P5,000 and P2 million.
In a radio interview also on Tuesday, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said he expects price and supply to normalize in the last quarter of the year.
He added that the supply chain from Region 3, the country’s top chicken producing region, was not affected by the recent typhoon.
There is also a possibility, he said, that DA will infuse the market with supplies coming from notably, Region 3.
TheMeatSite News Desk