Politics

Egg prices seen rising further on bird flu impact

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PHILIPPINE STAR/ WALTER BOLLOZOS

By Ashley Erika O. Jose, Reporter

THE RETAIL PRICE of eggs is expected to rise further with supply continuing to be constrained by the impact of avian influenza or bird flu, the egg farmers’ association said.

“Supply is on the low side because of bird flu. Prices may rise further depending on the demand and until it reaches a threshold,” Gregorio A. San Diego, Jr., chairman of Philippine Egg Board Association, said in a text message on Sunday.

Currently, medium-sized eggs retail for P9 each, according to the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) price watch data from Jan. 13. In December, the price was P6.90.

Mr. San Diego said that the poultry industry has yet to recover from bird flu, adding that recovery will depend on measures taken by the DA.

”Depends on government action. Just like with the ASF (African Swine Fever), we don’t even know the status now,” he added.

Former Agriculture Undersecretary Fermin D. Adriano said in a Viber message on Sunday that the recovery timetable remains clouded.

“The Philippines is affected by avian flu, the exact extent of which we do not know because BAI (Bureau of Animal Industry) has not been updating the public about it,” Mr. Adriano said.

Mr. Adriano said that the industry is also affected by the supply chain disruptions caused by the Russia-Ukraine war on feed corn, with the Philippines 40% dependent on imports.

“Since our yellow corn production can only meet 57-60% of demand by commercial users, we need to import corn and substitute (feed wheat) to fill in the gap. But because corn and wheat prices are rising globally due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, production costs of our poultry and hog raisers have increased,” he added.

The BAI has said that as of Dec. 15, 20 provinces remain affected by bird flu.

Kristine Y. Evangelista, DA spokesperson, said in a briefing on Saturday that the DA is seeking to determine the extent of the impact of high production costs on egg prices.

“We need to look into the cost of production again to determine if that is the root cause of the increase,” Ms. Evangelista said, adding that the preliminary data on bird flu is still being verified.