The Philippines Department of Agriculture is establishing an integrated cold examination facility in agriculture with complementary testing laboratories with the aim of preventing the smuggling of imported poultry and agricultural commodities, pests and diseases.
Agriculture secretary, William Dar, said that the facility in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone is being prioritised and will strengthen the country’s food safety regulatory system to protect consumer health.
As a first border facility, the cold examination facility and testing laboratories are located at a 2,000-sqm property and will be used to inspect imported containerised poultry, fishery and other agriculture commodities. It will also house examination areas and laboratories intended for the execution of the quarantine and inspection protocols of the Bureau of Animal Industry, Bureau of Plant Industry, and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.
“The CEFA [cold examination facility in agriculture] will enable 100% in-depth inspection of containerised animal, fish, and plant commodities identified through the Risk Assessment Categorisation and complemented by the x-ray screening of the Bureau of Customs, which will be subject to sampling and laboratory testing,” notes the Philippines Department of Agriculture.
Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority chairman and administrator, Wilma Eisma, welcomes the partnership and notes that it will also enhance the industrial and commercial activity and the free flow of goods within the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.
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The Philippines Statistics Authority reports that the country’s total chicken population as of 1 October 2021 was estimated at 190.74 million birds, up 2.4% from 2020 (186.33 million birds). Of the total chicken inventory, native chicken contributed 42.9%, followed by broilers (34%) and layers (23.1).
Inventory of broiler chickens and laying hens grew by 5.5% and 6.3%, respectively. Meanwhile, native chicken stocks declined by 1.9%. According to Statista, as of January 2021, about 350,000 mt of chicken meat was imported by the Philippines. The total domestic consumption of chicken meat in the country was around 1.71 million mt in the same year.