Poultry imports from Netherlands, S. Korea, France banned on avian flu

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THE PHILIPPINES has temporarily banned poultry imports from several countries after reported outbreaks of the H5N8 highly pathogenic avian influenza (bird flu).

In three separate memorandum orders, Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar suspended imports of domestic and wild birds and their products including meat, day-old chicks, eggs, and semen from the Netherlands, South Korea, and the French regions of Corsica, Ile-de-France, Aquitaine, Pays de la Loire, and Midi-Pyrenees.

The ban also stops the processing, evaluation, and issuance of sanitary and phytosanitary import clearances for commodities from these areas.

“There is a need to prevent the entry of the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus to protect the health of the local poultry population,” Mr. Dar said.

Mr. Dar implemented the ban on parts of France after its government sent a report to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) that confirmed H5N8 outbreaks.

Meanwhile, the ban on the Netherlands was issued after its Ministry of Agriculture, Nature, and Food Quality confirmed to the OIE the detection of H5N8 in Utrecht, Friesland, and Zuid-Holland.

Mr. Dar said the South Korean Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs also reported to the OIE the confirmation of additional H5N8 outbreaks in the provinces of Jeolla, Gyeongsang, Gyeonggi, and Chungcheong.

According to the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), the Philippines imported 402.70 million kilograms of chicken in 2020. 

The Netherlands accounted for 30.9% or 124.27 million kilograms of the total, while France was the source of 2.2% or 8.89 million kilograms of chicken and duck products. The BAI data did not contain poultry import totals for South Korea.

Jesus C. Cham, president of the Meat Importers and Traders Association, said in a mobile phone message that the recent bans are unfortunate.

“We are already experiencing a shortage of supply so it does not help. We can deduce (supply) from the price of chicken — if the price is high, then it indicates a shortage,” Mr. Cham said.

Based on the DA’s price monitoring report on Wednesday, the price of whole chicken was at P150-P180 per kilogram.

The DA’s suggested retail price per kilogram of whole chicken is at P140.

In a virtual briefing Tuesday, Agriculture Assistant Secretary William C. Medrano said the supply of broiler chickens is sufficient.

“We have enough supply. The country is more than self-sufficient when it comes to broiler supply. We have a surplus on a quarterly basis, equivalent to 11 days to 14 days per quarter,” Mr. Medrano said.

“The demand for chicken increased since the price of pork has gone up. Consumers opted to buy chicken, which then resulted in higher broiler prices,” he added. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave