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Poultry sales fall in Pangasinan

By LIEZLE BASA IÑIGO, With reports from Franco G. Regala and Ellalyn de Vera-Ruiz

DAGUPAN CITY – The province of Pangasinan is starting to feel the negative impact of the avian influenza virus that recently rocked San Luis town in Pampanga.

From average sales of 188 kilos per day, the province is now reportedly able to sell a mere eight kilos daily despite the assurance of provincial veterinarian Dr. Eric Jose Perez that it is safe to consume chicken meat.

Pangasinan produces around four million broilers a month and has been a steady supplier of poultry products in Nueva Ecija and Bataan.

It all went south from there as soon as a bird flu outbreak was declared in San Luis where about 200,000 fowls were affected.

Provincial Veterinarian officials continue to field personnel and established animal checkpoints in various entry points of the province to prevent contaminated fowls from getting into the province.

The deployment of checkpoints are in Bakit-bakit and Carmen, Rosales; Umingan, Bayambang, Mangatarem, Infanta, Sison and San Fabian.

Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol said on Thursday that he had asked President Duterte for the provision of R100-million fund.

“The funds would help resuscitate the farm, strengthen its production capacity and help the industry rise back from the heavy losses,” said Piñol.

Piñol also ordered the activation of biosecurity teams to inspect poultry, duck and livestock farms nationwide to prevent another avian influenza outbreak.

“I came across a broiler farm in Pampanga where obviously no biosecurity measures are in place. No fence, in the middle of the road, open and anybody can just come in. If that is the condition of our farms, we are facing a serious problem because it is open to contamination,” said Piñol.

So far, 92,000 fowls have been culled. The DA chief hopes to finish the culling process within the next three days.

Some farm owners have volunteered to subject their chickens under the culling process due to lower farm gate prices.

Piñol said farm gate price for chicken is currently at P50 from P70 per head. This is higher than the P70 offered by the government for every culled fowl within the contained and controlled area in San Luis town.

He also disclosed that it will not be until 90 days when poultry animal raisers can go back to their production.

“It is more advantageous (to subject their stock to culling) because they will lose more if they hang on to their stocks,” he said.

Meantime, Piñol also asked cockfight owners to momentarily stop their activities.

“Hindi natin alam ’yung mga panabong na ilalaban natin ay positibo ng Avian influenza A (H5N1) virus,’’ said Piñol.