COVID-19 impacts the supply chain



COVID-19 has disrupted the supply chain worldwide and fresh frozen seafood is no exception. The seafood industry faces decrease in sales because of the difficulties of some other related industries. This causes a ripple effect down the supply chain.

In General Santos City, the Fresh Frozen Seafood Association of the Philippines, Inc. (FFSAPI),  an exporter of fresh and frozen smoked processed Tuna and high-value Tuna products, is grappling with the immediate impact of COVID-19 as both their manufacturing and supply chain operations are being disrupted while their customer operations contend with similar challenges.


According to Janet Daquiz, FFSAPI executive assistant, demand for fresh and frozen smoked processed Tuna and high-value Tuna products has ceased because of the pandemic. This is due to the closure of hotels, restaurants, and catering facilities, including school and work canteens. On top of this, high cargo shipping rate is constraining the shipment of the products.  


Meanwhile, for shrimps and milkfish, no orders are forthcoming owing to the pandemic. Matured and oversized shrimps and milkfish had to be sold at considerably lower prices to the local market.


Moreover, social distancing and employee safety measures put an additional level of pressure on processor as 40%-50% of their workforce are unavailable to perform their respective functions on-site due to the mandated Inter-Agency Task Force regulation on COVID-19; low shipment; and high bargaining power of buyers since some of the shipment were caught during the lockdown. Buyers negotiated for lower prices given their economic difficulties as well.


Turning now to the shrimp farm industry in neighboring Sarangani. The province is host to almost 400 hectares of shrimp ponds. According to Marjun Villanueva, asst. vice president, Charoen Pokphand Foods Philippines Corp. and past president of SARGEN Shrimp Stakeholders Association, Inc., “Most farmers stock their ponds in preparation for the ‘summer crop’. However, COVID-19 presented a big challenge to the industry since almost 90% of our shrimp harvest are shipped to Manila which is our main market”.


Villanueva said the airport lockdown and flight cancellations posed a huge problem since on a daily basis, this season, the harvest is around 10-15 tons. He added that farm-gate buying price now drops to ₱150.00 for 10-gm size, a huge drop from the ₱240.00 farm-gate price before the occurrence of this health threat.


“Lately, there are some domestic flights. Although they are not regular but they can help ship shrimps from General Santos City to Manila. Buying price of shrimp is still low and freight cost is still high at P80.00 per kilo of shrimp”, Villanueva further explained.


“Farmers now are hesitant to stock their ponds for the next crop and adopt a wait-and-see attitude while hoping that things will return to normal soon”, concluded Villanueva.


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SFFAII.COM: COVID-19 impacts the supply chain
COVID-19 impacts the supply chain
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