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Bright prospects for local livestock seen

April 24, 2010

April 23, 2010, 2:12pm

The Department of Agriculture (DA) foresees bright prospects for the livestock industry this year owing to its vast export potentials, increasing product demand in the local market, and the entry of new players to further enhance the local industry.

Agriculture Secretary Bernie Fondevilla said that among these export potentials are the sale of pork products to other Asian economies, and Halal goat meat (chevon) and processed products to Middle East countries and other Islamic states.

He noted that domestic demand is also growing for semi-processed and processed beef, pork and chicken because of the increasing population; rising number of local and foreign tourists in highly urbanized areas; and the growing number of hotels, restaurants and other commercial institutions in Metro Manila and other major cities in the country.

San Miguel Foods Inc. is likewise intensifying its export of chicken meat and semi-processed poultry products, while Universal Robina Corporation has entered the retail market for broiler chicken through its “Super Saver” brand being sold in Robinsons supermarkets, Fondevilla said.

“There is also an opportunity for the government in the national to the local government level to develop more demand-driven rather than supply-driven comprehensive livestock programs for the entire animal industry that are interlinked with each other—from input supply to production, to processing, to marketing and consumption of livestock and poultry meat and meat products,” Fondevilla said.

He noted that the livestock sector continues to enjoy numerous opportunities for growth because the DA, through its Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), was able to maintain the Philippines status as an avian flu-free country and has taken great efforts to keep it generally free of the dreaded foot-and-mouth disease.

For 2010, Fondevilla said the BAI will continue with its genetic resource improvement program for cattle and small ruminants through the Public Law Act 480; sustain the Male Breeder Loan Program through the improvement in collection of repayments and strict monitoring and evaluation; and strengthen and upgrade BAI Production Centers through continuous provision of quality stocks and equipment, rehabilitation of facilities and development of improved feed resources and nutrition, and human resource development.

BAI will also continue to support and complement the Department’s programs on hunger mitigation, climate change and other environmental concerns by generating and applying modern technologies on breeding and selection, improved feed resources and nutrition, animal wastes management, and improved utilization of meat, edible and non-edible animal byproducts.

BAI has been helping raise the productivity and profitability of the domestic livestock and poultry industries, which account for a fourth of the country’s total farm output, despite the major challenges that these subsectors have faced over the past years. Under the leadership of Director Davinio Catbagan, total livestock and poultry industry production increased by 1.49% in 2009 compared to 2008.

Moreover, the BAI also successfully kept the Philippines bird flu-free, which has allowed the country to export poultry meat and poultry products to Japan, Hong Kong and the Middle East, and breeder chicks to Indonesia, Malaysia , Brunei, Nepal and the Middle East .

BAI also maintained the internationally recognized freedom of Mindanao, Visayas, Palawan and Masbate from the FMD for the past 50 months, and the looming declaration of Luzon as FMD-free by the Office Internationale des Epizooties (OIE) or World Organization for Animal Health. This will add to the country’s attractiveness as a reliable source of high-quality livestock products, notably for the global Halal market that the DA is trying to develop.

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