Public told: Plant veggies as poultry, hog supply not enough to bring prices down

·3 min read

POULTRY and hog supply in Central Visayas is adequate but not enough to bring down its increasing prices in the market. People need to start planting vegetables on their own for food.

This is what Joel Elumba, Department of Agriculture (DA)-Central Visayas officer-in-charge and director, said on Monday, June 20, 2022.

Elumba said the increased prices of market commodities, specifically on hog and poultry products, are mainly caused by the restrictions being implemented in Central Visayas due to the threat of Avian Influenza (AI) or the bird flu virus and the African Swine Fever (ASF) on pigs.

The AI virus started infecting chickens and birds in several areas in Luzon, Mindanao, and other countries in April, while ASF in some areas of the National Capital Region (NCR) since 2019.

This led Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia to issue executive orders (EO) 8 and 9 banning meat and poultry products from Luzon, Mindanao, and other areas affected by AI and ASF in Cebu, which later were extended and adapted by Cebu and Mandaue City Mayors Michael Rama and Jonas Cortes.

Bohol and Negros also implemented stricter anti-AI and ASF measures.

Elumba said that because of these limitations, major poultry and pig suppliers from the other regions and areas in Central Visayas are having a hard time shipping out their products.

"There are added requirements in shipping poultry and pig products because of these limitations, such as the chicks need to undergo a blood test first and other examinations to ensure its safety from the Avian virus," said Elumba.

"Because of these, there is a delay in delivery, causing the scarcity. We must remember that without the chicks, there would be no chicken to butcher. It is the same thing for pigs," he added.

Elumba also cited the ongoing war between Ukraine and Russia, which is causing the erratic fuel prices, as another factor for poultry and pig products' price increase.

Data from DA-Central Visayas revealed that the prices of usual poultry products bought by consumers, such as dressed chicken, had an increase of at least P50 with an average now of P220 compared to P170 before the EOs were implemented.

Basic pig products such as lean meat also increased from P300 to P320.

But he reiterated that the supply of poultry and hog products in Central Visayas is ample but a bit lacking in terms of reducing its prices in the market.

Elumba added that in terms of food security, Central Visayas has an advantage with its "strategic position" being a net importer, so people would not have to worry about insufficient food supply.

"The other regions market their agriculture and fishery products here," he added.

With the increasing prices of market commodities, Elumba encouraged people to start planting vegetables, especially those who have lawns.

"We need to start planting vegetables on our own to supply food for our families. It is the only way we will survive from famine when all goods would increase their price," he said. (HIC)

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