USDA sees higher 2024 PH pork/beef output

THE Philippines will likely produce more pork, chicken meat and beef this year as more investors for those commodities are coming in, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) said.

In a report, the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Services (FAS) said that pork production for the Philippines will increase to 970,000 metric tons (MT) in 2024 compared to 2023’s forecast of 950,000 MT.

The agency attributed the higher output to repopulation efforts of the pig commercial sector.

In terms of pork consumption, FAS Manila forecasts an increase to 1.49 million MT for next year from the 1.48 million MT estimate this year.

“This will be a decline, however, on a per capita basis as higher inflation rate will diminish consumers’ purchasing power and compel them to search for cheaper protein sources,” said USDA.

FAS Manila, meanwhile, said that lower pork imports are seen for the Philippines from the previous estimate of 525,000 MT to 500,000 MT. The agency said the decline is due to “tight global supply.”

However, USDA expects it to increase in the second half if lower tariff rates set to expire on Dec. 31, 2023, based on Executive Order 10, Series of 2022, are not extended.

“Pork importers will try to beat the higher tariff rates by importing more before the year ends,” it said.

USDA also increased its 2024 beef production forecast to 190,000 MT compared to 2023’s estimate of 185,000 MT, adding that more investors are coming into the sector.

The trendline of total beef and carabeef production shows it is increasing over time,” it said.

“Inventory is declining, which means cattle and carabao are being sold as meat. This is corroborated by the slightly increasing number of cattle and carabao slaughtered,” USDA added.

Beef consumption for next year is expected to slightly increase to 389,000 MT from the previous 384,000 MT.

For 2023, USDA said that higher fuel prices will lead to higher inflation rates and, in turn, reduce consumers’ purchasing power.

“Beef, being the most expensive protein, will be most affected,” it said.

Meanwhile, USDA said that beef imports will likely remain at 200,000 MT in 2024 “because of low demand for imported beef.”

Chicken output was also seen to increase to 1.52 million MT from the 1.47 million MT forecast in 2023.

“FAS Manila forecasts 2024 production higher, although the sector remains constrained because of high feed ingredients prices,” the agency said.

According to industry contacts in the broiler commercial sector, the usual growth for the poultry sector is 3 to 7 percent a year. This means the 3.4 percent expected production growth in 2024 is at the low end of that range.

USDA also noted that provinces declared free from highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) include Aurora, Quezon, Capiz and Batangas.

“This is a major boost to chicken production, especially for Batangas, a major poultry-producing province within the Calabarzon region,” it added, referring to Region 4A.

Chicken consumption was seen to reach 2.01 million MT by next year, higher than the 1.96 million MT forecast in 2023.

“Chicken is a cheaper protein compared to pork and will be the preferred choice given the impact of inflation on consumers’ purchasing power,” said USDA.

The agency also said the country may import more chicken meat at 500,000 MT in 2024 due to “higher expected demand and competitive prices compared to local production.”