African Swine Fever Pushes Demand for Pork and Poultry Imports in the Philippines

March 2020

The Philippines is expected to buy more pork and chicken from the global market as African swine fever (ASF) cases in the country would pull down local supply according to a report by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)-Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS). The country’s Department of Agriculture has announced that about 2% or 237,000 pigs of the country’s total 12.8 million hogs have been culled. However, other industry experts have mentioned that up to 30% of hogs may be affected by the disease.

The report also said that although lower than the previous year due to reduced supply, pork demand is seen to normalize from the drop in late 2019. Consumers initially had concerns about the safety of pork during the initial spread of the disease, but demand has since recovered. Consumption was also lower by 4% to 1.749 million metric tons (MT) from 1.824 million MT as consumers shift to chicken meat.

The Philippines is also expected to hike its chicken meat imports by 4% to 360,000 MT from last year’s 345,000 MT. Local production which will only increase by 10% to 1.6 million MT will not be able to meet additional domestic consumption of nearly two million MT. The USDA projected that broiler raisers continue to ramp up production to augment the decline in pork production from ASF. This year’s chicken meat import projection was lowered from the earlier 390,000 MT due to possible delays in shipments and supply disruptions from the spread of the coronavirus disease. The industry has reported ample stocks of imported and local chicken in cold storage facilities due to some slowdown in demand related to COVID-19, particularly by the fast food chains and quick service restaurants.

The USDA also said beef production is expected to increase marginally at 205,000 MT due to attractive prices. However, limited pasturelands and a lack of new breeding animals will be a constraint on further growth. The delays in trade caused by increased COVID-19 restrictions will also place more pressure on local beef prices, as over half of supply is imported.

(Sources: The Philippine Star; USDA-FAS)

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