Hog raisers urged to go into native pig production

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Saturday, August 27, 2011


THE National Swine and Poultry Research and Development Center (NSPRDC) is implementing a program on the conservation, evaluation and commercialization of native pigs as a product differentiation strategy that has a market among organic and health buffs.

Center chief Dr. Rene Santiago Friday said the production of organic pigs will build up the marketing of ‘lechon’ as a distinct Filipino dish, preserve indigenous pig species and give livelihood to far-flung areas.

“Upon seeing the advantage of raising pigs, which gives big savings in the cost of feeds and materials for housing, farmers who are growing commercial hogs have started adding native pigs to their herd,” Santiago said, adding the Philippines has a one-of-a-kind opportunity to market native pigs for lechon.

“The United States has turkey for Thanksgiving. The Chinese have the Peking duck and we have lechon that without it, your feast is not complete. Genetically, our native pig is suitable for lechon, which is why we see a lot of economic potential in it,” he added. Aside from lechon, native pigs are ideally used for other Filipino specialties like longaniza, etag and bagnet.

Organic pigs, while carrying lower feed costs, command a higher price in the market owing to its healthful, organic nature and quality meat. “Compared to the farm gate price of only P95 per kilo of live weight for commercial hogs, organic pigs are priced P100 to P180 per kilo.”

The government is also encouraging the production of native pigs not only to have a continuous supply in the local market but also to aid in cutting pork import, which reduces employment opportunities for farmers. Pork import reached to 172,626 metric tons (MT) in 2010, up by 54 percent from 114,365 MT in 2009.

Native pigs can be organically grown since they are highly-adaptable to the environment and can tolerate heat and cold better than imports. Their small size—30 to 50 kilos for mature weight— and a 10 to 30 kgs of grower stocks make them ideal for lechon.

Santiago added a type of feed developed by NSPRDC costs only P11.40 per kilo or about 50 percent of the cost of commercial feeds. The feed consists of corn, rice bran, copra meal, molasses, salt and limestone.

Farmers could also opt to feed the animals with indigenously-grown crops like Gabing San Fernando and Madre de Agua, which are easy to propagate and have high protein and calcium content while also palatable to pigs, he said. “With government support, there are already emerging small and medium enterprises that are going into commercial native pig production.” (CGC)

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on August 27, 2011.

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