The Board of Investments (BOI) recently gave the nod to the Php78.3 million project of 557 Feather Meal Corp as an expanding producer of poultry dressing with cold storage facility under the 2017 Investment Priorities Plan (IPP). The project qualified for incentives under the Preferred Activities Category under the Agriculture, Fishery and Forestry Listing which covers production of seeds and support services and infrastructures such as facilities for drying, cold chain storage, blast freezing, slaughterhouse, Class AAA dressing plant.

Start of commercial operations began June 2017 with an additional 460 personnel on board. The project involves additional facility for poultry dressing with processing plant and cold storage services to its existing plant in Concepcion, Tarlac. The expansion processes an additional 12.48 million birds annually, in addition to its existing registered capacity of 19.968 million a year or an increase of 63 percent in annual production capacity.

The facility exclusively serves the poultry dressing and further processing requirements of San Miguel Foods Inc. (SMFI). It receives live birds from the poultry growing farmers of SMFI located in Tarlac and nearby provinces. In the wake of the bird flu outbreak in Pampanga and Nueva Ecija, San Miguel Pure Foods Company, Inc. (SMPFC) said its Magnolia chicken brand are safe for public consumption. SMFI is a subsidiary of SMPFC, the food division of conglomerate San Miguel Corporation (SMC). SMFI farms and its entire broiler flocks recently tested negative for the avian influenza. There were also no manifestations of any symptoms of the flu. SMPFC said in a statement that they continue to implement rigorous biosecurity measures in all SMFI controlled farms to avoid contamination from the flu as they continue to adhere to international food safety and health standards.

“This expansion will address the chicken meat requirements of Central Luzon considering its growing demand,” Trade Undersecretary and BOI Managing Head Ceferino Rodolfo said. The company is the only accredited poultry dressing plant in Tarlac but in all of Region 3, there are twenty poultry dressing plants. Half are classified as Triple A (including 557 Feather Meal Corp.) and the remaining are considered “AA.”

The agriculture sector has rebounded in the first half of 2017 with a growth rate of 5.7 percent growth after a contraction of 3.4 percent last year, according to figures released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). The poultry subsector expanded by 8.4 percent, accounting for 16 percent of total agricultural output. Chicken production contributed to the positive performance with a 9.3 percent growth. Poultry production value rose by 10.1 percent to P55.3 billion.♦