Retail prices of livestock and poultry are expected to increase in the Philippines as local producers predict a possible rise in the prices of animal feeds due to the import ban on meat and bone meal imposed by the Agriculture department late last week. Farmers warned that the existing ban on the import of meat and bone meal from all countries will force them to solely rely on costlier corn and soya bean meals as ingredients in making poultry and livestock feeds. "Meat and bone meal is a good source of protein to the animals. If you remove them from the market we can expect that the prices of fish meal including soya bean meals will go up, which is already happening now," said Francis L. Wong, director of the Bulacan-based San Miguel Backyard Raisers Cooperative. This will eventually put pressure on the retail prices of pork and chicken, he added. At present, Wong said the price of soya bean meal is already pegged at 13 to 15 pesos (US$ 0.24-0.28) per kilo from only 9 to 11 pesos per kilo earlier this year. The Department of Agriculture (DA) last week issued Memorandum No. 8 banning the import of meat and bone meal coming from all countries as a precautionary step against the spread of mad cow disease. The DA clarified the ban is only imposed on meat and bone meal and not all meat products as earlier reported. Agriculture Secretary Leonardo Q. Montemayor said the ban came following the recommendation of the World Health Organization (WHO), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Paris-based Office International Des Epizooites (OIE) following a meeting held last June. The agencies agreed that meat and bone meal, feared to carry the mad cow disease also known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), first reported in the United Kingdom, should not be used as livestock feeds. The DA said a total import ban should be imposed to prevent illegal trade of the banned products. The Philippines also imports meat and bone meal from the U.S., Australia, China, New Zealand and Indonesia. The DA last November banned the import of live cattle, sheep, goats and their meat products from Europe due to the mad cow outbreak.