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Boost to Exports to Japan Foreseen by San Miguel

by 5m Editor
15 February 2010, at 10:51a.m.

PHILIPPINES - San Miguel Foods sees a 20-per-cent rise in chicken exports to Japan as a masure to reduce the impact of the lowering of tariffs for meats traded between Asean members.

Poultry integrator San Miguel Foods Philippines Inc. (SMFI) projects a 20-per cent increase in shipments of yakitori-style processed chicken to Japan this year on the back of stronger demand, a company official said.

Rita Imelda Palabyab, SMFI-Poultry vice president and general manager, said the projected increase in exports to Japan is a "conservative estimate", according to Business Mirror of the Philippines.

At the 80th anniversary celebration of the Bureau of Animal Industry held in Quezon City recently, she said: "Chicken [products] from the Philippines are [preferred by Japanese customers] because Philippine chicken has [earned] a reputation of being tastier and more tender. This is because we use smaller birds."

Last year, Ms Palabyab disclosed that SMFI-Poultry was able to export 6,000 tonnes of yakitori–style processed chicken, mostly to Japan. The SMFI official, however, did not disclose the value of the shipments made last year.

Currently, SMFI-Poultry is the only company in the Philippines that is shipping out chicken products to Japan.

As this developed, Ms Palabyab said that SMFI is gearing up for a possible threat posed by the full implementation of a free trade scheme among members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (Asean).

Under the Asean Free Trade Area (Afta), tariff rates for chicken products and livestock dropped to between zero and five per cent from 1 January.

Ms Palabyab said: "We don't feel [the threat of Afta] yet, but we have to prepare for that. We have to make ourselves more competitive. As in any country, fresh chicken is always preferable than frozen chicken. We have to capitalise on that advantage."

One crucial factor to ensure the competitiveness of the poultry sector, she said, is the stability of corn supply and its price. "We have to make sure there is enough cost-competitive corn." Yellow corn is a major ingredient used in manufacturing feeds for hogs and chicken.

SMFI-Poultry is a division of San Miguel Pure Foods Co. Inc. Its operations include broiler breeding, hatching, growing and processing using company-owned and contracted facilities, according to Business Mirror.

On its web site, SMFI noted that its flagship brands Magnolia Chicken and Purefoods Supermanok lead the poultry market, being the brands of choice among major food service outlets as well as in supermarkets and wet markets.