THE PROLONGED lockdown in the National Capital Region is reducing the average farmgate price of broiler chicken, according to the United Broiler Raisers Association (UBRA).

UBRA President Elias Jose M. Inciong told BusinessWorld by phone that the average farmgate prices have collapsed during the strict lockdown over the capital.

UBRA said the average price of off-sized broiler fell 11% from a week earlier to P70.75 per kilogram (/kg) as of Aug. 27.

The average price of regular-sized broiler and prime-sized broiler as of Aug. 27 were at P71.25/kg and P72.67/kg, respectively. The prices were 12% and 10% lower week on week.

“The cost of production is also high, at a range of P78 to P88/kg depending on flock performance. Prices of feed raw materials are at a historical high such as yellow corn with an average price of P21.19/kg as of Aug. 27, compared to P17.16/kg recorded in August last year,” Mr. Inciong said. 

Mr. Inciong said some small growers might have to shut down.

“The small players will reduce production or stop while the big players — those who are well financed — are probably able to wait for conditions to turn better, when they have less competition,” Mr. Inciong said.

The President’s Spokesman Herminio L. Roque, Jr. announced Saturday that Metro Manila will remain under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) until Sept. 7.

MECQ in Metro Manila was originally scheduled to end on Aug. 31.

Other areas that are also under MECQ until Sept. 7 are Bulacan, Bataan, Apayao, Ilocos Norte, Cavite, Rizal, Laguna, Lucena City, Aklan, Iloilo province, Iloilo City, Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu City, Mandaue City, and Cagayan de Oro City.

Meanwhile, Mr. Inciong disputed claims by the Department of Agriculture (DA) that the Philippine poultry sector is a “bright spot” for growth, calling it an “empty” PR exercise lacking “substance.”

On Aug. 27, Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar said during the Philippine Poultry and Livestock Virtual Summit that the poultry subsector remains a bright spot for spurring agricultural growth.

The DA has announced that it is aiming to achieve 2% growth for 2021, lower than its previous growth target of 2.5%.

Mr. Dar also highlighted the DA’s investments in the poultry subsector such as the ongoing construction of the P50-million cold storage and meat cutting facility in San Jose, Batangas and the P90-million meat cutting plant and cold storage warehouse in Pampanga State Agricultural University.

“The private sector has been most helpful in the rescue of the entire livestock sector, which suffered negative growth due to African Swine Fever (ASF). We need to involve more of our country’s best entrepreneurs in the effort — because they have a great deal to offer in terms of resources and expertise,” Mr. Dar said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave