Nueva Ecija bird flu outbreak not seen affecting demand

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THE POULTRY INDUSTRY said it has seen little impact on demand arising from the bird flu outbreak in Cabiao, Nueva Ecija.

“So far, no impact on prices and demand,” said lawyer Jose Elias M. Inciong, President of the United Broilers Association of the Philippines in a mobile message on Monday.

“The pattern set in other countries has been that after the first incident, people no longer panic and it’s just part of life as [is the case in] other animal diseases.”

Prices of chicken across the country dropped by an average of P5 to P10 per kilogram in the aftermath of the avian influenza outbreak in August.

The Philippines was expecting to declare itself bird-flu free by Dec. 20 under the 90-day international protocol counting from the last day of cleaning and disinfection of affected farms.

But a recent cull of 42,000 birds in Cabiao, which the Department of Agriculture confirmed is linked to bird flu, will likely set back the declaration.

Though the industry does not expect any disruption of the domestic market, exporters will see more of an impact.

“It would have an impact on exporters although very few companies are into it and the volume involved is insignificant relative to local production,” Mr. Inciong added.

Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) officer-in-charge Ronnie D. Domingo said “we have very limited foreign markets for poultry products because of the cheaper products from other countries.”

In an e-mail interview on Monday, the BAI said total chicken meat exports for 2016 totaled 5.001 million kilograms (kg), of which 4.96 million were delivered to Japan, which has imposed a temporary ban on Philippine chicken meat.

“As of July 2017 (based on available data), Jan. to July 2016 export of chicken meat is 2,973,065 kg with 2,932,964 kg exported to Japan,” BAI said. — Janina C. Lim