Agriculture Secretary William Dar has allayed fears from consumers that there would be a shortage of chicken and pork in the market.

In a statement released, the Department of Agriculture said there was enough meat to feed the country.

“Contrary to recent projections painting a deficit scenario of the country’s meat sector, we are pleased to report that on the contrary we have a favorable outlook despite difficulties encountered last year, especially for pork, due to the African Swine Fever outbreak,” Dar said in the statement.

He explained the projections for June 2020 remained good as the stocks would last for 62 days for chicken and 10 days for pork, citing data from the Philippine Statistics Authority and industry stakeholders.

“Chicken supply is seen to surpass the annual requirement of 1.3 million metric tons (MT) by 24 percent equivalent to more than 400,000 MT, assuring us by January 2021 an inventory good for 157 days,” he said.

Pork producers in the Visayas and Mindanao have an oversupply as cold storage facilities are filled with pork, thereby reducing the possibility of importing additional meat this year, he said.

Dar however said the country’s pork supply remained a “challenge” as the Asian Outlook 2020 and the Department of Agriculture’s National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) forecast a deficit of about 121,000 MT by yearend due to a 21 percent contraction in production.

“We acknowledge the projected deficit in pork that is why we are rolling out interventions to increase swine production this year.  We are requesting funds under the Plant, Plant, Plant Program to increase hog production and support our swine raises,” Dar said. (Melo M. Acuña)