By Madelaine B. Miraflor
Two years since the Philippines recorded its first avian flu outbreak, South Korea is ready to import chicken from the Southeast Asian nation again, starting with the accreditation of three companies from La Union, Batangas, and Davao City.
The number of Philippine companies to be allowed to export chicken to South Korea should increase by 2020, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said.
This, after the South Korean government approved and registered three Philippine poultry manufacturing facilities to export chicken meat to South Korea.
These facilities are owned by LDP Farms Food Corporation (La Union), Carino and Sons Agri-Development, Inc. (CASADI) (Batangas); and Ana’a Breeder Farms, Inc. (Davao City).
This came after Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), in cooperation with the Philippine Agriculture Attaché in South Korea and the National Meat Inspection Services (NMIS), facilitated an inspection mission of the poultry farms conducted by the South Korea’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) here.
The onsite inspection was conducted in September by the MAFRA’s Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency (APQA) and South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS).
Right now, the South Korean government is looking to accredit more poultry farms from the country, with other interested companies encouraged to apply for exporter accreditation.
The application, according to BAI, is open until December 20, 2019 for the scheduled inspection in 2020.
In 2017, several countries, including South Korea, imposed a ban on the importation of chicken and other poultry products from the Philippines following a bird flu outbreak.
Two years later, South Korea already lifted the ban since the Philippines has already officially restored its Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI)-free status.
It was BAI, in close coordination with the Philippine Agriculture Office in Seoul, which accomplished the submission of requirements to lift the temporary suspension.
A data from Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed that as of July, the country’s total inventory of chicken was estimated at 191.70 million birds.
To be specific, the inventory of layer chicken was recorded at 40.24 million birds or 6.5 percent higher than the previous year’s record of 37.77 million birds, while broiler chicken inventory grew by 6.2 percent from 64.94 million birds in 2018 to 68.97 million birds in 2019.
Meanwhile, in 2018, South Korea’s chicken imports reached 140,000 metric tons (MT). It is projected to increase to 145,000 metric tons in 2019 due to continuous increase in the demand for processed chicken products and the cheaper price for imports compared to domestic chicken.