Inconsistent rules of LGUs threaten poultry industry
The continuous gridlock on checkpoints and the inconsistent directives from local government units (LGUs) on the movement of agricultural workers and supplies have put a major dent on the poultry industry, causing some poultry raisers to abandon their livelihood as prices plummeted.
In an interview, United Broilers Raisers Association president Bong Inciong said the farm-gate price for chicken had now declined to between P30 and P50 a kilo, way below the P70 a kilo in production cost, forcing many raisers all over the country to stop operations.
The drop was mainly due to disruptions on input and output deliveries, as some LGUs continued to be dismissive of national directives. The provincial government of Laguna, for instance, has mandated a total lockdown, which would prohibit the entry and exit of all people, even those carrying commodities.
The country’s poultry production is mainly concentrated in Central Luzon and Calabarzon, where almost half of the country’s output comes from.
There were also reports of road closures in the provinces by overly cautious residents, who dumped heaps of soil over pathways to prohibit the entry and exit of residents and outsiders.
Most egg harvesters were also not allowed to go to work since harvesting must be done at night to avoid egg shrinkage and mortality. To do this, workers must be allowed to go out beyond curfew schedules.
“The DA (Department of Agriculture), DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government), and the DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) have been very active with our concerns, but the problem is with the LGUs that are, in effect, very dismissive of national directives in the mistaken belief that if they do it on their own, they would be alright. But this is a mistake,” Inciong said.
In a letter addressed to Agriculture Secretary William Dar, Inciong detailed the hardships that poultry raisers were currently facing amid the enhanced community quarantine.
“Aside from the collapse of farm-gate prices, the behavior of LGUs has brought despair to our members that I have not experienced before. Most are cutting back on production. Some will just finish their current production cycles and stop their operations. We need to support those who plan to continue and discourage those who want to quit,” he said.
“It is critical to note that the production cycle of broilers is only about 30 to 35 days. If things do not normalize soon, then 30 days from now, we will start to feel its impact on food supply … The domino effect would be devastating,” he added.
He has called on the national government to review the local government code during times of crisis. INQ
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