THE initiative of the Department of Agriculture (DA) to implement a five-year National Backyard Development Program starting next year is seen to further advance the flourishing poultry industry of Negros Occidental.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, in his Facebook post on Monday, said that he already directed Assistant Secretary for Livestock Enrico Garzon to design a platform that would mainly include a nationwide vaccination and immunization program of all free-range chicken.

Through this initiative, Piñol said the agency will start a nationwide distribution of backyard chicken breeding materials targeting two million farming families who will be given two roosters and 10 hens each over the next four years.

“If the chickens are raised without the threat of diseases, this simple program could bring in an estimated monthly income of P5 billion for the two million families nationwide,” Piñol said, adding that “this is a lot of money which will circulate in the countryside.”

Also, farming families will now be able to have enough supply of free-range chicken and eggs for their children, the DA chief said.

“This is an income-earning opportunity for the farmers that the agriculture department under President Rodrigo Duterte will not miss as we target to reduce rural poverty by the end of his presidency in 2022,” Piñol added.

For Negros Occidental, Provincial Veterinarian Renante Decena on Monday said the province was able to constantly increase its poultry production in the last 10 years.

Decena said the current poultry animal population in the province is about 7.2 million, which is higher than the 4.5 million in 2007.

“We have been implementing already these development initiatives which the national government is trying to replicate in other provinces in the country,” he said.

However, Decena pointed out the said measures of DA will still impact positively the province by complementing Negros Occidental’s existing development efforts.

There are currently 15 multiplier farms in Negros Occidental.

Decena said these farms have greatly contributed in maintaining the province’s standing as number one in backyard poultry production in the country, particularly in gamefowl and free-range chicken.