CAGAYAN, Philippines– Northeastern Luzon’s biggest supplier of poultry meat has anticipated a short supply of the product in Metro Manila if the recent alleged bird flu outbreak will not be addressed in the next 30 days.
Miguel Decena of MBD Livestock based in Enrile town in Cagayan province and who produces 20,000 chicken heads daily said reports on the H5 strain of the virus which allegedly contaminated chickens in Pampanga have scared consumers the last few days.
“The situation should have not reached such an alarming level if authorities and the media waited for the result of a blood sample investigation in Australia. They should have waited for the results of the laboratory investigation by experts before they declare an alleged widespread contamination,“ he said.
The national Gawad Saka awardee lamented that the damage has been done and will take time for the industry to recover.
However, in a published report yesterday, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pinol was quoted as saying ‘the industry will suffer but we would be able to recover from this.’
“It will have only minimal effects on the economy,” he said.
While Decena admitted that there is a possibility of contaminated chickens in Pampanga pending the blood sample sent to Australia, the situation could have been managed as it is an isolated case.
He added that government agencies like the Bureau of Animal Industry, Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health since last week have issued their own orders and circulars which have confused key business players like him.
Decena cited his own case where 6,000 one-day old chicks were dead after quarantine officers held his shipment outside of the region for five days despite a shipping permit.
The industry, he admitted, has been ruined because of such ‘artificial scare” fanned by unconfirmed media reports and called for an immediate solution to save the industry as he believed the quarantine sector is not organized.
In Cagayan Valley, while poultry products are not affected, Decena said he has received reports that sales are dropping to its lowest level as a possible result of psychological effect on consumers.
With 600,000 chickens ordered culled by DA any day this week, Manila market will expect supplies from Cagayan Valley which has been assured by Decena. As of yesterday, 73,000 commercial and backyard chickens and ducks have been culled in Pampanga.
Pinol, in a statement yesterday said he has ordered an investigation of the chief quarantine officer of the Port of Batangas after the agency received reports that some 1,500 chicken eggs from Candaba, Pampanga were seized in Catiklan Port, a violation of an earlier memorandum of DA. Benjie S. De Yro/Northernforum.net