THE Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO) has monitored a growing demand for dressed free-range or native chicken among markets in Negros Occidental.

Provincial Veterinarian Renante Decena said aside from public markets, wet markets and even supermarkets in malls now also sell dressed free-range chickens.

He said the commodity has been creating its own niche, complementing the already established market for white chicken or broiler.

“Free-range chicken is part of organically grown chicken being distributed by the provincial government through its animal dispersal program,” Decena said, adding that the province is now trying to get a big ratio of native to white chicken.

PVO records showed that in 2016, it has dispersed 11, 447 heads of free-range chicken.

It forms part of the 56,602 heads of various livestock and poultry animals and five units of incubators amounting to about P13 million distributed to 776 recipient-raisers.

The Philippine Statistics Authority reported Negros Occidental produced almost 5.13 million heads of native chicken last year.

The figure makes Negros Occidental the number one producer of native chicken in the country followed by Iloilo with 4.16 million heads.

In terms of market value, Decena said vendors have realized the bigger income generating potential of marketing dressed free-range chicken rather than selling it live.

Average price of dressed free-range chicken is P250 per kilogram, higher than those sold live, at P180 per kilogram.

“By-products of free-range chicken like liver, gizzard, and intestines also command good price especially among chicken eating populace of the province,” Decena added.

To maintain and further develop the province’s free-range chicken production, PVO continues to implement various interventions like infusion of poultry breeders.

Under which, poultry breeders like dominant CZ and grimaud are crossed with kabir-jolo breed of free-range chicken coming from known and registered breeder farms.

Decena said the province will continue the dispersal of breeders to local poultry raisers, individual or associations, as well as production center managed by local government units.

“PVO also works on expansion of multiplier farms with complete facilities and breeders along with regular trainings and capacity building components,” he added.