Chicken, pork output mixed

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    The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) sees a rebound in chicken production but expects a slump in pork output in the Philippines this year.

    In a report dated Dec. 28, 2020, the USDA said a 9.6 percent increase may be recorded in the country’s chicken production this year to 1.37 million metric tons (MT) from last year’s expected production of 1.25 million MT due to increasing farm-gate prices.

    The USDA sees chicken meat consumption in the Philippines going up by 7.2 percent to 1.78 million MT from 1.66 million MT but imports are seen to decline by 2.4 percent to 400,000 MT from 410,000 MT.

    The report showed pork production this year may remain negative as the threat African swine fever (ASF) continues to discourage commercial operations from reinvesting in the sector which may again lead to a spike in prices.

    For this year, pork production is seen to reach 1 million MT from last year’s expected 1.12 million MT as consumption is projected to drop by three percent to 1.22 million MT from 1.26 million MT.

    However, due to the expected production decline, USDA said pork imports in the Philippines may reach 225,000 MT this year from the previous 150,000 MT.

    In an online briefing yesterday, Secretary William Dar of the Department of Agriculture said the agency will continue combating the spread of ASF by strengthening quarantine protocols and empowering local government units and barangays so they can respond to outbreaks immediately.

    “(ASF) is a lingering issue,” Dar said.

    Dar also assured the livestock sector is among the high priority areas this year.