MANILA, Philippines – Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto on Wednesday slammed the Department of Agriculture’s plan to increase poultry imports amid shortage in the local market.
Recto opposed the agency’s move “to limit production of the country’s main protein source” to give way to foreign producers “at a time when we have to ramp up agricultural production in order to put affordable food on the table of Filipinos who have lost jobs.”
“The farm sector is the economy’s savior and safety net, and a job generator amidst massive layoffs. The only way for the food industry to absorb the unemployed is for it to increase and not decrease its yield,” the lawmaker said.
Citing a May 2020 data from DA, the country’s chicken supply is sufficient amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Recto said.
According to ABS-CBN news, Recto said that supply would last for a minimum of 160 days and a maximum of 314 days. Food sufficiency level is estimated between 136 percent to 183 percent.
“And why should an agency whose sole mandate is to boost food production advise Filipino chicken raisers to scale down their output to give market space for dressed chicken coming from abroad?”Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto
In a letter sent to the DA, United Broilers and Raisers’ Association president Elias Jose Inciong, criticized the agency’s order to local chicken growers to limit production.
“In the kindest possible terms, this is one of the most bizarre thinking that ever emanated from the DA. The incongruence is glaring,”