THE Philippines remains keen on selling frozen chicken and processed chicken products to neighboring Asian countries such as Vietnam, Singapore and Hong Kong, a senior official of the Department of Agriculture (DA) said over the weekend.
Agriculture Undersecretary Jose Reaño said Filipino poultry growers are now more competitive as the cost of poultry production has gone down in recent years.
“The establishment of the Asean Economic Community will also make it easier for the Philippines to ship out poultry products,” Reaño said in a telephone interview.
Products traded among Asean countries will enjoy lower tariffs. For one, the tariff for chicken will go down to 5 percent.
Reaño said the Philippines is building up its chicken inventory in preparation for the shipment of more frozen poultry products to other countries.
“We want at least 20 percent of the total [poultry and livestock] production to go to export. Right now we are exporting only a fraction of what we produce,” he said.
Reaño said the DA is also negotiating with Japan, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to expand shipments of poultry to these countries.
The Philippines is currently supplying 1 percent of Japan’s total requirement for chicken yakitori, while it started shipping 11,000 kilograms of frozen chicken to South Korea on June 5 this year.
Reaño said chicken shipments to the UAE are still erratic since the country is competing with Europe, which is geographically nearer to the Middle East.
Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala said the Philippines is also eyeing the export of pork to the UAE.
“Just the Filipinos there are around half a million already. [We will be exporting] anytime now, business-to-business negotiations are ongoing,” Alcala said.
Alcala earlier said the Philippines is also targeting to export its swine products to Japan, which is currently experiencing a
pork shortage due to porcine epidemic diarrhea.
Aside from chicken and pork, the Philippines ships out Peking duck to Japan and South Korea.
Reaño said the absence of bird flu and foot and mouth disease in the country gives the Philippines an advantage when it comes to exporting meat products.
The DA earlier projected a 9-percent hike in poultry production and a 5-percent increase in hog production this year.
Reaño said chicken imports have declined by more than 15 percent. He said he expects this figure to go down further due to the anticipated increase in supply later this year.
As of June 22, data from the National Meat Inspection Service showed that the total inventory of imported frozen chicken jumped by almost fivefold to 11,660.11 metric tons (MT) compared to 2,096.81 MT reported in the same period last year.
This is also 20 percent higher than last month’s inventory of 9,697.62 MT.