DA assures public: Enough meat supply amid ECQ
MANILA, Philippines—There is enough meat to feed the country amid the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), according to the Department of Agriculture (DA).
“Contrary to recent projections painting a deficit scenario of the country’s meat sector, we are pleased to report that on the contrary, we have a favorable outlook despite difficulties encountered last year, especially for pork, due to the African Swine Fever outbreak,” Agriculture Secretary William Dar said in a press release on Friday.
“For instance, we are projecting an ending stock in June 2020 good for 62 days for chicken and 10 days for pork, based on the data from the Philippine Statistics Authority and consultations with industry stakeholders themselves,” he added.
The DA chief said chicken supply is seen to surpass the annual requirement of 1.3 million metric tons by 24%, or equivalent to more than 400,000 metric tons. This assures by January 2021 an inventory good for 157 days, according to Dar.
The poultry industry, however, previously reported that the inconsistent directives of local government units (LGUs) on the movement of agricultural products have put a major dent on the industry as prices have plummeted.
The DA, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) have since issued orders to ensure the “unhampered movement” of agriculture and food supply through quarantine checkpoints.
Pork suppliers meanwhile claim that there is an oversupply for the said meat, particularly in Visayas and Mindanao, and that “cold storage facilities are brimming with pork and there may even be no need to import this year.”
The DA noted, however, that the country’s pork supply “remains a challenge” as the “Asian Outlook 2020” and the DA’s National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) forecast a deficit of around 121,000 metric tons by the end of the year due to a 21% contraction amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We acknowledge the projected deficit in pork that is why we are rolling out interventions to increase swine production this early. We are requesting funds under the Plant, Plant, Plant Program to increase hog production and support our swine raisers,” Dar said.
The DA chief also asked consumers to consider shifting to poultry meat, eggs and processed products as the country has more chicken supply than pork. Hog raising will meanwhile be intensified in areas free from the African Swine Fever to address the problem.
Based on field reports and consultations with hog and poultry industry stakeholders, the DA forecasts that throughout the year, 11 regions will enjoy chicken surplus, while seven regions will produce more pork than their respective requirements.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.