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PIA Press Release

BAR, BAI explore profit in raising native pigs


Manila (16 September) -- Characteristically small, usually black in color, spotted, and resistant to parasites and diseases, native pigs can adapt to local conditions and can tolerate heat and cold environments better than the imported breeds. They can thrive well on locally-available feeds, including kitchen and farm refuse, and can cope with low quality feeds and maintenance. The usual farm practice, especially in the far flung villages, is the "bahala na" system-allowing pigs to scavenge for their own survival.

Philippine native pigs are traditionally known as best for "lechon" or roasted pig. This Pinoy delicacy, prepared the roasted way, commands good price and is highly preferred by food connoisseurs during special occasions. Our lechon is tastier, with crispier skin and leaner meat, compared to the imported ones.

To conserve and maximize the potential of expanding the lechon market, the Bureau of Animal Industry-National Swine and Poultry Research and Development Center (BAI-NSPRDC) based in Tiaong, Quezon conducted a study on the "Conservation, Evaluation and Commercialization of the Philippine Native Pigs". This was funded and supported by the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) under its banner program, the National Technology Commercialization Program (NTCP). The two-year project is led by Dr. Rene C. Santiago, DVM, also the agricultural center chief of BAI-NSPRDC. Project implementation called for collaborations with the local government units (LGUs) of Quezon and selected farmer-cooperators in Laguna and Quezon.

The objective of the project is to establish a production system involving raising native pigs under farmers' management and propagate such on a commercial scale and improve the antiquated system of swine raising resulting in better production. The socio-economic importance of production and commercialization is a crucial aspect of the project.

Production of native pigs can be a viable alternative for swine producers who cannot cope with the high price of commercial swine feeds and for those who do not have enough capital for housing and feeding. This animal can be raised without the use of chemical inputs and, as a breed, has high economic potential for those engaged in organic swine production. In addition, native pigs are very rich sources of genetic materials for local breed development and improvement programs, hence it is a necessity to conserve and preserve this breed.

BAI-NSPRDC started the project where production of breeder native pigs was carried out which were subsequently distributed to selected farmer-cooperators in some municipalities in the second and fourth districts of Quezon province and in the fourth district of Laguna.

The BAI-NSPRDC selected 20 heads of breeder sows with two boars from their stock farm in Tiaong, Quezon for use in the production of breeders to be distributed to the cooperators of the project. The breeders produced piglets that were raised, selected and distributed.

Nine beneficiaries were identified based on their capability, willingness and cooperation. The farmer-cooperators and technicians attended training and seminars on the production and management of native pigs. After the training, each farmer-cooperator was provided with a set of 5 female and 1 male native pigs as breeder stocks. Each farmer was also provided with a one-time subsidy for housing in the amount of PhP10,000 and feeds worth one thousand pesos PhP1,000.

A prototype pig pen was also constructed inside the compound of BAI-NSPRDC for demonstration purposes to farmers. This type of pig pen used locally-available materials such as bamboo, nipa, coco-lumber and coconut husk and coir dust as bedding. One module of pig pen requires a floor area of roughly 4 x 4 square meters.

To validate and ascertain the progress and development of the project, a BAR- Technology Commercialization Unit (BAR-TCU) Evaluation and Monitoring Team composed of Ellen Garces, Eve Juanillo, and Patrick Lesaca conducted project reconnaissance in May 2010. The project visit included interviews with Dr. Rene Santiago, team leader, and Ms Fe Bien, agriculturist of the project. The team also visited the farmer-cooperators in their respective areas and saw the progress of the project.

Dr. Santiago narrated to the monitoring team that the identification of collaborating municipalities is dependent on the need of the locality for the project, environmental considerations and willingness of the local government units. These criteria are of paramount importance to the success of the project. The farmer cooperators, on the other hand, were chosen based on their capability and knowledge in swine raising in general.

The monitoring team noted the good relationship between the project proponents and farmer-cooperators. Native swine cages were well maintained. Feeds and alternate sources of livestock were available. More importantly, the conservation of native pigs can be said to already be achieved. It is expected that the project will boost the needed stocks of native pigs which would be made available for multiplication and livelihood production. (A-BAR) [top]

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