AGRICULTURE:  NO  CHICKEN  SHORTAGE  THIS  CHRISTMAS -  SEN. MAGASAYSAY

MANILA,
October 26, 2004 (STAR) There will be no shortage of chicken this coming Christmas season, Sen. Ramon Magsaysay Jr. said.

Magsaysay met recently with leaders of the local poultry industry and the heads of various government agencies to discuss the current situation and to address issues and concerns besetting the sector.

The senator also urged the consuming public to buy locally-produced chicken to protect their health and the interests of the P94-billion local poultry industry. The rural-based food sector employs and directly involves the economic lives at least 500,000 families.

Magsaysay noted that currently, the price of dressed chicken in the wet market ranges from P85.00 P105 per kilo. He said that although this is expected to go up when Christmas season comes, this will only be temporary.

Magsaysay, chairman of the Senate committee on agriculture and food, said the Philippines has maintained its status as a "bird-flue free" country and local integrators have been exercising proper sanitary practices to ensure that their products are safe for public consumption.

"In fact, local chicken integrators are now exporting chicken to Japan and Hong Kong which were recently affected by avian influenza or bird flu," he said.

The senator, likewise appealed to businessmen to stop smuggling chicken into the country which in effect is displacing local producers.

He said chicken smuggling displaces 3,190 labor force and 14,445 corn farmers. Smuggled chicken also endanger consumers health specially if the products were sourced from countries affected by bird flu.

Local poultry raisers have been complaining of smuggled chicken particularly chicken-leg quarters (CLQ) from the US which are sold in public wet markets and big supermarkets.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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