THE Province of Negros Occidental remains the country’s top producer of backyard swine and native chicken, figures of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed.

The 2016 PSA data released this March was obtained by the Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO).

According to the figures, Negros Occidental produced 448,657 heads of backyard swine last year, followed by Camarines Sur in second place with 284,390 heads.

Native chicken production reached almost 5.13 million heads in the province in 2016. Iloilo took the second spot, producing 4.16 million native chicken heads.

Negros Occidental is number two in carabao production, with a total of 103,237 carabao heads last year behind the Province of Leyte’s 119,099 heads.

Provincial Veterinarian Renante Decena said Negros Occidental’s status as the country’s top hog and chicken production can be attributed to the effective provincial government-led livestock and poultry development programs.

Support provided by the local government units (LGUs) and stakeholders through PVO-organized raisers associations is also important, he added.

“It is also through the good governance and food security legacies of Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. that we were able to keep the local livestock and poultry industry improving,” Decena said.

Among the province-led initiatives are the Negros First Animal Livelihood Program (NFALP) and Provincial Animal Genetic Improvement Program (Pagip).

NFALP, which includes dispersal and redispersal projects, aims to augment the income of local farmer-raisers particularly in the marginalized sector while Pagip is a complementing program that seeks to improve the genetic makeup of the local livestock stocks through artificial insemination (AI) and infusion of breeder stocks.

PVO also banked on the establishment and expansion of multiplier farms in different cities and municipalities in the province.

These facilities used for breeding and production of quality stocks capacitate LGUs in their respective livestock and poultry development initiatives.

Decena said that as Negros Occidental continues to sustain the lead in hog and native chicken production, it is also working on improving production in other commodities.

In goat production, Negros Occidental ranked second with 213,480 heads while Cebu led at 222,750 heads last year.

For duck, the province produced 475,144 heads to land in number six, with Bulacan, in number one spot, had almost 1.22 million heads.

Data further showed that Negros Occidental ranked eighth in layer production, producing 597,258 heads, far behind the top producer Batangas, with 9.59 million heads.

For broilers, the province placed number 14 at 2.14 million heads. Nueva Ecija ranked first with 5.87 million heads.

It lagged behind at number 20 in terms of cattle production at 49,306 heads, with Pangasinan in number one for a total of 136,294 heads.

“Through the strategies that we have established, we are optimistic that we can be able to sustain our lead and improve in areas that still need to be developed,” Decena said, adding that the province’s production growth rate has been increasing since 2010.