The reported shortage of pork in certain parts of the country can be counterbalanced by an existing oversupply of chicken meat, according to local poultry producers.

In an interview, Elias Jose Inciong, president of the United Broiler Raisers Association (UBRA), said a confluence of high domestic production and aggressive importation has led to more supply of chicken meat than the public is likely to consume.

He said that in the run-up to December, local poultry raisers tried to boost their production in anticipation of the historically high Christmas demand, while meat importers similarly tried to raise their stocks by bringing in more frozen chicken.

Inciong said the resulting glut in chicken supply, coupled with a surprisingly modest demand despite the holidays, has forced farmgate prices to plummet, even while retail prices of dressed chicken have only decreased modestly.

“This can be substitution under certain circumstances. People can opt for chicken instead of pork. But we leave that up to the market. The current oversupply in chicken meat is overwhelming,” he told the Philippine News Agency.

Danilo Fausto, president of Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food, Inc. (PCAFI), said the reported pork shortage in Oriental Mindoro “could be somewhat exaggerated.”

It was reported by certain media outlets that out of one city and 14 municipalities in the province, only five towns remain free of African swine fever (ASF).

The level of ASF infection in the province has supposedly resulted in the significant drop in pork supply, creating a conundrum in view of an expected spike in demand during the holiday season.

However, Fausto said Batangas province is only a short boat ride away, and it is a relatively simple matter to import pork from there to Oriental Mindoro to meet the demand of the latter province’s consumers.

Fausto also acknowledged that encouraging consumers to serve more poultry where pork supply is currently irregular is a viable option, especially in view of the oversupply in chicken today.

Meanwhile, the PCAFI is also advocating for more stringent biosecurity measures in Oriental Mindoro’s ports and tighter quarantine protocols for moving meat between its towns in view of the ASF outbreak, which has dealt a strong blow to the province’s pork production sector.

The Pork Producers Federation of the Philippines (PPFP) is an affiliate organization to the PCAFI.

“We recently met with some Oriental Mindoro officials, and we suggested that they implement stricter biosecurity measures where needed… like ports and other places where ASF can be transmitted. Oriental Mindoro is a very important component to achieving food autonomy. It produces a surplus of rice… the province can contribute much to the food needs of NCR (National Capital Region) and Calabarzon,” Fausto added.PNA