Sorsogon housewife proves native pig business profitable
June 15, 2013 12:09 pm
By Danny O. Calleja
CASTILLA, Sorsogon, June 13 (PNA) — Annie Asejo owns two native sows penned up within the backyard of her house in Barangay Cumadcad here.
Her husband, Sonny, is engaged in a medium-scale livestock trading business but not earning good enough for all the family’s needs because of the dwindling stocks of cattle and carabao in the locality.
He buys the farm animals from local raisers, particularly farmers, and sells them in the livestock auction market in Batangas.
Profit most of the time is not so favorable.
Cash-strapped for the recent enrollment of their two sons in college? Not really, the housewife revealed.
Annie said that in their latest litters, her two sows produced a total of 18 live piglets, which she had sold for P3,000 per head or a total of P54,000, an amount that was good enough to settle enrollment fees and buy some school supplies.
Both sows, according to her, produce an average of eight weanlings each, two times in 14 months, giving her an income of nearly P100,000 within the period from piglets alone.
Dozens of households in the neighborhood are also in the same backyard-based venture and doing well in terms of income and profit, she said.
“We prepare native pigs because unlike hybrids, they live on natural feeds like root crops, vegetables and other plants that we grow in our backyard gardens and farms — making their maintenance less expensive, hence, the bigger profit,” Annie told the PNA in the local dialect.
Besides, meat consumers today, particularly those who are health conscious, prepare native pork for having more flesh and less fat being raised through organic feeds, she added.
According to the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR), a native pig project could raise good periodic income for farmers in just selling piglets and opens bigger opportunities for them to sell the specialty “lechon.”
It has been a tradition for farmers in most parts of the country to raise native pigs that they sell for full-sized lechon or for “Lechon de Leche,” a roasted piglet in its tender meat and crispy skin.
Its preferable taste compared to commercial breeds may be attributed to its being native breed.
The flavor of native lechon is also attributed to the production system.
Being raised free-range or just roaming around the farm, the pigs become lean from the daily exercise and are able to access vegetation in the area.
The BAR is funding a native pig multiplier project in the Bondoc Peninsula whose success is being eyed by the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization for replication in other parts of the country.
The project is being implemented by the University of the Philippines Los Banos (UPLB) Agricultural Systems Cluster-College of Agriculture.
“A farmer with two sows, each producing seven weanlings three times in two years, will have added income of P33,700 from piglet sales alone,” Dr. Mary Jean Bulatao, the UPLB Native Swine Project team leader, said in a BAR statement reaching PNA over the week.
BAR is also expanding the project to other provinces as its director, Nicomedes Eleazar, in the same statement said “we want to raise livelihood opportunities in mostly upland areas.”
Production of native swine will also enable farmers to meet a requirement for a specialty product that has a growing market in Metro Manila, according to Eleazar.
The native swine project’s production and repayment scheme called “dos por sinco” adopted in the Bondoc Penisula under the project, he said, have worked well in selected communities.
Each farmer-beneficiary received two ready-to-breed gilts (the dos part). This has enabled farmers to have a year-round supply of piglets.
The project also provided five weanlings (the cinco part) to farmers for immediate fattening.
This should generate cash to farmers in three to four months while waiting for the gilts to mature as sows and produce piglets.
Under the project, Eleazar said, farmer-beneficiaries also plant their farms with feed resources such as root crops and some herbal plants for supplements.
The main feed resource is the Gabing San Fernando whose corm is reported by UPLB to be capable of substituting corn by 60 to 90 percent as the feed ingredient’s energy source.
The native pigs’ feed is a combination of two or three of different feed ingredients that are cooked together.
The choices are gabi tubers, gabi leaves and trunks, rice and corn bran, matured coconut meat, cassava, banana trunk, market wastes, kitchen refuse, kangkong, papaya, oraro rejects, malunggay, mixed vegetable refuse, ipil-ipil leaves, sweet potato leaves and madre de agua.
Boars and lactating sows are given rice or corn bran added into cooked feed. Feeding is two times a day.
Eleazar said the business is profitable, given that for a 25-kilo native pig, a farmer can enjoy a P780 income per head.
If a farmer decides to raise five heads in a five to six-month cycle or a total of 10 heads per year, he will have an extra income of P7,800 yearly.
“These may be modest added returns but very important to the farmers. These become a significant buffer income in times of unexpected needs. Farmers are now starting to treat this activity as a business enterprise,” he said.
BAR has also partnered with the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI)-National Swine and Poultry Research and Development Center based in Tiaong, Quezon, which is engaged in a study on “Animal Genomics to Increase Productivity of Native Pigs” and part of it is to characterize and conserve the pigs native to the Philippines, Eleazar added. (PNA)