A POSSIBLE extension of the strictest quarantine settings will be very damaging to the poultry industry especially for small producers, an industry association said.

Elias Jose M. Inciong, United Broiler Raisers Association president, said the possible extension and rising coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases do not bode well for consumption.

“It will be hard on the industry especially the small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Normally, prolonged disruptions cause industry concentration,” Mr. Inciong said in a mobile phone message.

Mr. Inciong said poultry producers will also need to deal with increasing production costs.

Citing data from the Philippine College of Poultry Practitioners, Mr. Inciong said the average farmgate price of yellow corn in July was at P17.8 per kilogram (/kg), higher than the P16.5/kg recorded in June.

“The big corporations have the finances to ride out that kind of lockdown. In fact, it benefits them as it kills their competition.  For ordinary producers, it can be a fatal or very damaging experience,” Mr. Inciong said.

There have been calls to extend the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila as a result of surging COVID-19 cases. Metro Manila was placed under ECQ between Aug. 6 and Aug. 20.

However, business groups such as the Employers Confederation of the Philippines are opposing the extension to preserve jobs and keep the economy from sustaining further damage.

Philippine Egg Board Association Chairman Gregorio A. San Diego, Jr. said eggs are currently in surplus due to lower consumption coupled with increased production.

“Egg production went up due to the increased number of layer breeders,” Mr. San Diego said in a mobile phone message.

Mr. San Diego said the lowest farmgate prices for chicken eggs monitored by the group was below P3 for small eggs and below P4 for medium eggs.

“This is compared to the price of more than P5 for medium eggs at the high and more than P4 for small eggs. Another problem is the high cost of feed right now such as yellow corn. Around 50% of feed by volume is yellow corn,” Mr. San Diego said.

 “The wholesale price varies depending on the inventory of egg farms. But the prices go down due to old eggs. The government should regulate the entry of layer breeders,” he added.

The Philippine Statistics Authority estimated that the value of production in the agriculture sector fell 1.5% in the second quarter after output from the livestock and fisheries subsectors dropped 19.3% and 1.1%, respectively.

Meanwhile, production of the poultry subsector rose 2.5% while crop output increased 3.1%. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave