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Optimism Expressed for Philippines' Livestock Sector

by 5m Editor
21 April 2010, at 8:27am

PHILIPPINES - The Department for Agriculture (DA) sees bright prospects for the country's livestock industries.

With continuing support from the government for demand-driven programmes, the DA expects bright prospects for the livestock industry this year and beyond owing to its vast export potentials, an increasing demand in the local market for its products, and the entry of new players to further invigorate the domestic industry.

DA Secretary, Bernie Fondevilla, said that among these export potentials is the sale of hogs and pork products to other Asian economies, and Halal goat, chevon meat and processed products to Middle East countries and other Islamic states.

He noted that domestic demand is also growing for semi-processed and processed beef, pork and chicken because of the increasing population; rising number of local and foreign tourists in highly urbanized areas; and the growing number of hotels, restaurants and other commercial institutions in Metro Manila and other major cities in the country.

San Miguel Foods Inc., is likewise intensifying its export of chicken meat and semi-processed poultry products, while Universal Robina Corp. has entered the retail market for broiler chicken through its 'Super Saver' brand being sold in Robinsons supermarkets, Mr Fondevilla said.

He added: "There is also an opportunity for the government in the national to the local government level to develop more demand-driven rather than supply-driven comprehensive livestock programs for the entire animal industry that are interlinked with each other—from input supply to production, to processing, to marketing and consumption of livestock and poultry meat and meat products."

He noted that the livestock sector continues to enjoy numerous opportunities for growth because the DA, through its Bureau of Animal Industry, was able to maintain the Philippines status as an avian flu-free country and has taken great efforts to keep it generally free of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD).

For 2010, Mr Fondevilla said the BAI will continue with its genetic resource improvement program for cattle and small ruminants through the Public Law Act 480; sustain the Male Breeder Loan Program through the improvement in collection of repayments and strict monitoring and evaluation; and strengthen and upgrade BAI Production Centers through continuous provision of quality stocks and equipment, rehabilitation of facilities and development of improved feed resources and nutrition and human resource development.

BAI will also continue to support and complement the Department's programs on hunger mitigation, climate change and other environmental concerns by generating and applying modern technologies on breeding and selection, improved feed resources and nutrition, animal wastes management, and improved utilisation of meat, edible and non-edible animal by-products.

Earlier, then Secretary Arthur Yap lauded the BAI for helping raise the productivity and profitability of the domestic livestock and poultry industries, which account for a fourth of the country’s total farm output, despite the major challenges that these subsectors have faced over the past years.

Mr Yap had noted that on the watch of Director Davinio Catbagan, total livestock and poultry industry production increased by 1.49 per cent in 2009 compared to 2008, which is no mean feat considering the tasks of the bureau in keeping the Philippines free of avian influenza, foot-and-mouth disease and other threats to the animal industry.

He further said he had witnessed BAI efficiently marshal all resources to prevail over the huge difficulties of two El Niño episodes; the series of powerful tropical cyclones; and the reemergence of diseases such as the Ebola Reston Virus.

Moreover, the BAI also successfully kept the Philippines bird flu-free, which has allowed the Philippines to export poultry meat and poultry products to Japan, Hong Kong and the Middle East, and breeder chicks to Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Nepal and the Middle East.

BAI also maintained the internationally recognised freedom of Mindanao, Visayas, Palawan and Masbate from the FMD for the past 50 months, and the looming declaration of Luzon as FMD-free by the Office Internationale des Epizooties (OIE) or World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), which will add to the country's attractiveness as a reliable source of high-quality livestock products, notably for the global halal market that the DA is trying to develop.