'Balut' to cost more in Philippines

'Balut' to cost more in Philippines
Duck raisers are concerned over the impact of the bird flu virus, which was detected in poultry farms in Pampanga and Nueva Ecija provinces, on the “balut” (boiled duck egg) industry.
PHOTO: Philippine Daily Inquirer/Asia News Network

CITY OF MALOLOS - Expect prices of the popular street food "balut" (boiled duck egg) to increase after Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol lifted restrictions on the transport of duck eggs from Luzon due to the bird flu outbreak.

One of the conditions imposed for transporting balut was for producers to first cook the eggs that would limit the volume that could be bought, said Ike Illescas, a duck raiser and producer from San Ildefonso town in Bulacan province.

The shelf life of cooked balut is short, he said, so buyers in the Visayas and Mindanao would have to distribute and sell these in two days.

"We have reached out to negotiate new prices. The condition set by the Department of Agriculture (DA) meant we can only cook a smaller volume of balut based on what buyers are able to sell in a short period," Illescas said on Wednesday.

"We will have to deliver a smaller volume of eggs, which would raise the shipment cost. Normally, the more eggs we transport, we incur less expense for their delivery," he said.

Uncooked duck eggs are bought at the farm at P10 apiece. These are sold by retailers for P12 to P16 each.

Illescas said it would take three months before balut producers could recover losses.

According to him, balut producers intend to ask the DA to ease the restrictions on the transport of eggs and allow them to ship these raw.

Illescas said demand for chicken and other poultry products dropped sharply due to the bird flu outbreak in Pampanga and Nueva Ecija provinces.

About 200 poultry growers in Bulacan have been affected by public fear despite assurances from the government that the outbreak has been contained to three villages in Pampanga and Nueva Ecija.

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