DTI on chicken price drop: No cause for alarm

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Chicken prices have gone down from around ₱160 to ₱140 based on the DTI monitoring. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 14) — The Trade Department said Monday the drop in chicken prices in Metro Manila was a knee-jerk reaction to the bird flu outbreak and that growers should not be alarmed at the temporary situation.

In an interview on CNN Philippines, Trade Undersecretary Teodoro Pascua said chicken prices have gone down from around ₱160 to ₱140 based on their monitoring of markets and supermarkets such as Mega Q Mart in Cubao.

"The initial reaction is prices have indeed gone down, from around 160 to 140 for retail and for wholesale, it reached up to 110 per kilo," Pascua said.

"I think it's more of our initial reaction - it's fear, it's alarm, or to some it's caution. Because we are definitely not that familiar with this issue of avian flu or bird flu," he added.

Pascua said he went out with his monitoring teams yesterday, and they found out that chicken meat sold in markets in Metro Manila come from Bataan, Tarlac, Laguna, and Batangas.

"Some came from Rizal, some came from Laguna. There shouldn't be any much alarm at this time," he explained.

Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol announced the bird flu outbreak Friday, after 37,000 fowls reportedly died since April in the town of San Luis, Pampanga. Central Luzon, where Pampanga is, produced 35 percent of the chicken supply in the Philippines last year.

Pascua assured farmers and livestock owners that the effect of the outbreak on businesses livelihood is only temporary.

"I'm sure we can work out some things, the (Trade Department) is ready and willing to help just in case really there is any need for supplement or augmentation for livelihood," he said.

Pascua also reminded the public to buy chicken meat only from stalls which have posted copies of a Meat Inspection Certificate from the Agriculture Department.

A statement from the Philippine Amalgamated Supermarkets Association (PAGASA) Monday said it informed food retailers to be on alert for chickens from Pampanga, and to carry only branded chicken on their fresh produce section.

"This is to avoid unbranded chicken coming from questionable sources; that supermarkets with house brands for chicken double-check with valued suppliers where their chicken are coming from," PAGASA President Steven Cua said in the statement.

CNN Philippines' Correspondent Makoi Popioco contributed to this report.