One mandate of local government units in the Philippines, is to create livelihood opportunities for their constituents. These LGUs are often farming-based therefore, they have to find farming models that work for their people. Some LGUs have already established their own demonstration farms which is also mandated by the Local Government Code of 1990 or the Republic Act 7160.
Barotac Viejo in Northeastern Iloilo, West Central Philippinees, is one municipality that has started its own demonstration farm and training center. Mayor Raul C. Tupas is now keen on exposing the small pig farming module that he and his team developed. “We have started with a hybrid model based on the observations we made and the ideas we have gathered from all over. That is why our housing and pigpen is cheap but effective. As we raise to sell the pigs to cover the costs, we also experiment to perfect the technologies that can be applied to the various agro-eco-zones in the municipality. We have both mountain areas and seaside communities that is why we have to generate pig farming models that can be adopted in these areas either as a side project or as a main source of income”.
Housing: The 10 sow breeding house is made of cogon (Imperata sp.), bamboo and concrete. Concrete was used only in the flooring and instead of the usual steel and GI sheets, the municipal government used Cogon and bamboo which abound in the area. “This house is sturdy and when farmers visit us, they say that they made a mistake of using GI sheets and steel and should have visited the farm first before starting their own pig farming projects”, Mayor Boboy as he is popularly called, said. (see pictures).
Finishing House Model: The Grower-Finisher House is an adoption of the finishing house of a farmer in Bicol Region in Southern Luzon (Philippines) featured in the Agriculture Magazine years ago. “Vicente, our pig farming project in charge borrowed the idea from what he heard on radio. Larry Locara, the agribusiness broadcaster spoke about the model featured in the Agriculture Magazine and Vicente was able to catch the technology, including the proportion of the bedding which is half and half of rice hulls and river sand, both abundant nearby. He also added salt but later he was able to learn from the same broadcaster that rice washing is as effective since it generates lacto-bacilli that effectively controls bad bacteria and other pathogenic microorganisms”.
“We remove the bedding after each cycle of about four (4) months then we age it for about a month or so before it is used for the herbal and flower projects on the other side of the farm. The bedding is probably the best and the cheapest organic fertilizer we have ever used”, explained Mayor Boboy.
Use of Probiotics: Mayor Boboy also explained how probiotics is used: “The farm extensively use probiotics learned from many sources. Vicente had attended a seminar conducted by a company selling their own brand of probiotics. He likewise learned from Larry Locara how to make probiotics even without the expensive starter medium. This same method is being taught by the Department of Agriculture and the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist in the Province of Iloilo. The Indigenous Microorganisms (IMO) that we formulate is added to the water Our experiences in the last two years confirm that probiotics have a major role in small farm systems. We do not use antibiotics anymore and our pigs, from the breeders down to our piglets are healthy even without the use of additives. This has cut down our expense tremendously!”
Local Feed Sources: “The pig farming project has helped restore the fertility of the soil especially on the rice farm and other low-lying areas. This encouraged the reestablishment of azolla and other leguminous fodder which we also use as added feedstuff for the hogs on top of the usual commercial rations. We have cut down dramatically our feed expense!”.
Use of Artificial Insemination: “We are fortunate that the provincial government has put up a Breeding Station here. The technicians are highly trained and so far, they have a very high success rate that there is no more boar service operating in the town. All our sows are inseminated and we retain only the tracer boar to ensure that the sows are in proper stage of heat to ensure success of the insemination”.
Biogas: Iloilo Province is a national award winner in the use of biogas. The municipality was quick to adopt the biogas technology because of the simple system that was advocated by the Department of Agriculture and the Provincial Agriculture Office. “The farm installed a plastic biogas system that produces gas more than what we can use. All the cooking is done using this gas on a modified gas stove. It is also easy to modify the gas stove as one has simply to enlarge the jet using a small tipped knife or instrument. The breeding Center and the Slaughterhouse use this for their cooking and other chores, Several other farmers in the municipality had also installed their own units”.
Profitability. “We have reached the standards of the hog industry. Our income from this small farm model is about P12,000.00 per sow per year. Part of the piglets are sold to farmers and the balance is raised as finishers and sold at the Auction Market held every Wednesday. We are striving to make this a model to showcase the profitability of small hog farming especially to seaside communities in search of alternative sources of income when fishing is hard. I think we had achieved our primary purpose of getting people to become interested in hog farming because of the model that uses hybrid technology”.
Prospects: “Our success in the last two years has emboldened us to expand our sow level to about twenty-five. There is a growing demand for more piglets as grower-finishers. This is also because of our Livestock Auction Market where prices become competitive. If you visit our Auction held every Wednesday, you will see the quality of the pigs being sold there. This strengthens our resolve to give priority to hog farming on a smallscale especially now that our models have succeeded”, concluded Mayor Boboy Tupas.