Poultry mystery: High prices amid surplus

He shared that the poultry prices in the market have increased up to P200 per kilo and have been maintained by vendors

The Department of Agriculture will investigate poultry oversupply as it said persisting high market prices and avian flu in the country suggest otherwise.

“I’ve noticed poultry prices in public markets have not moved, so oversupply may not be severe. We should look at all information, the system if demand is really low which traders claim is causing the oversupply,” DA spokesperson Rex Estoperez said last Friday.

He shared that the poultry prices in the market have increased up to P200 per kilo and have been maintained by vendors. Some have maintained a price of P180 to P190 per kilo.

Estoperez said DA officials will set a meeting with traders, government officials and other stakeholders to see whether there is oversupply and how the market vendors came up with the high prices.

Product check required

“We have to check the products with the Bureau of Animal Industry and National Livestock Program. Remember, we also have avian flu which should somehow reduce poultry production.”

However, United Broiler Raisers Association President Bong Inciong told the Daily Tribune last Friday “Demand and farmgate prices are still low.”

According to the National Meat Inspection Service, dressed chicken in cold storage in the second week of May was down to 57,479 metric tons from 60,243 metric tons in the prior week, mostly consisting of imported poultry.

Meanwhile, farm gate prices range from P95 to P116 per kilo, which is lower by nearly half of the market prices.

“This is the reason why we have to investigate to see what is happening,” Estoperez said.

Inciong said, “If farm gate prices continue to be at levels where they are now, poultry farmers will suffer heavy losses, then will either stop or suspend operations.”

He added, “Those who have limited capital are looking for other opportunities to diversify. There might be a shift to local trading and even importation as these activities are the activities supported by the government.”

Estoperez agreed that is a sound move and advised businesses to not import if there is really an oversupply.

“What happens is if we lack supply, people will blame the DA; if there’s oversupply, they still blame the DA. It’s a business decision on the part of the traders. If there’s oversupply then don’t import.”

Other people suggested the government must instead buy the excess supply and give it to the Department of Social Welfare and Development for their feeding programs.

However, Estoperez said that would require additional funds and a lot of time for smooth logistical operations.

“We can buy them if we have unlimited resources but we have limited resources and that’s not included in our programs. That’s also a logistical nightmare because that will require installation of cold storages.”

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