Press Releases

Salceda sees connection between egg price hikes and smuggling of frozen chicken meat; House tax chair warns of malnutrition if egg prices become unaffordable

January 28th, 2023

House Ways and Means Chair Joey Sarte Salceda (Albay, 2nd district) says that he believes that the smuggling of frozen meat is causing domestic farms to reduce total poultry populations, resulting in egg supply levels “not enough to undercut abuses in the trading sector.”

“It’s still mostly a trading problem, given that farmgate is still relatively low, but you need an abundance of supply to undercut the efforts of cartels to control prices.”

“The egg problem is partly an offspring of the chicken problem. Traders abusing prices appears to be the leading cause, but I can’t discount the fact that the decline in population of chickens is also to blame for this.”

Earlier this month, the Philippine Egg Board President Irwan Ambal said there was a 20 percent drop in the population of chicken layers in Luzon since January 2022 because of the avian flu outbreak. Salceda adds that continued smuggling and undervaluation of chicken imports will cause poultry farms to downsize or close down, threatening the egg supply.

“There is definitely a connection between ensuring that imported chicken meat tariffs are imposed and keeping our domestic egg sector viable. We can import frozen chicken meat, but eggs are much harder to import, so we need a good domestic supply base,” Salceda said.

“We don’t have the option of resorting to imported eggs if domestic egg prices shoot up. So, we really need to tamp down the abuses in the trading sector, and to ensure that we have enough egg supply.”

Salceda says that the government could consider feed subsidies from tariff revenues from imported corn to support egg production. The agriculture department, Salceda says, should also be more aggressive in its layer distribution programs.

“At any given time, you are looking at tariff revenues of P1.9 billion for corn imports. We could funnel that back to the egg and chicken meat production sector. I would say egg production is more important. We can import chickens. We can’t easily import eggs.”

High egg prices could worsen malnutrition, learning poverty

Salceda adds that keeping egg prices cheap will be “critical to fighting malnutrition. Eggs, per gram, are the cheapest available source of protein for Filipino families.”

“High protein prices have been attributed to low PISA performance. If you have expensive egg prices, you could see learning poverty worsen.”

“So, it is a matter of urgent national importance that we act now on egg prices before farm gate prices begin to rise. Right now, it’s still mostly a trader issue, but if domestic chicken supply worsens, farmgate egg prices will rise – and that will be much harder to fight.”

Other Press Releases
The AO will make food cheaper. Right now, it’s very difficult as an honest exporter to sell food to the Philippines.
Read More
Statement on the pronouncements against the Public Service Act amendments (RA 11659)
Read More
Statement on the February 2024 jobs report
Read More
Statement on the March 2024 inflation figures
Read More