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Farmers Query Latest Govt Production Forecast

by 5m Editor
16 March 2009, at 9:08am

PHILIPPINES - Predicting reduced demand this year, the United Broiler Raisers' Association has expressed doubts about the government's forecast for higher production this year.

The government in the Philippines expects poultry production to grow faster this year, even as at least one industry group sees dampened demand amid the economic slowdown, according to BusinessWorld Online.

"There is flat consumption because people have less money," the president of the United Broiler Raisers Association said.

The Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), an agency of the Agriculture department, projects a 5.4 per cent output growth this year, buoyed by more chicken layers and breeders, BAI Director, Davinio P. Catbagan, said in an interview.

The poultry sector – which accounts for 14 per cent of total agriculture output – managed to grow 4.71 per cent last year from 0.22 per cent in 2007 and a 0.37 per cent production decline in 2006, data from the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) show.

The department targets a 5.4 per cent and 3.6 per cent growth this year for production of chicken and chicken eggs, respectively, which account for 95 per cent of the poultry sector.

However, Gregorio A. San Diego, Jr., president of the United Broiler Raisers Association, said the government's 5.4 per cent output growth target is too high given low consumption.

"There is a flat consumption because consumers have less money. We see that there will be no growth in consumption," he said in a phone interview.

He warned that any oversupply could result in lower prices for poultry products, to the detriment of poultry farmers.

The industry itself projects less than three per cent poultry output growth, which would prevent poultry prices from dropping while meeting market demand, Mr San Diego said.

Meanwhile, production of ducks and duck egg will continue to slide because of low demand, high production cost and government restrictions on the transport of ducks.

"[Duck and duck egg production] would continue to be slow in recovering but that is taken care of by the [output of chicken] broilers and layers," Dr Catbagan said.

Since 2005, the industry has been reeling from the ban on transport of ducks in the months of November until March, when migratory birds flock to the provinces.

Dr Catbagan said ducks and duck eggs production would likely decline by five per cent from last year's 81,680-tonne output worth 2.33 billion pesos.

"We prevented avian influenza because of this restriction, but we limited [the production of ducks] as well," Dr Catbagan told BusinessWorld Online.