AGRICULTURE Secretary Emmanuel Piñol is seeking to revive the traditional raising of chickens in the farms through a Nationwide Backyard Chicken Raising Program.

Piñol announced during a farmers’ forum on Wednesday, May 10 in Tabuk City, Kalinga province that the Department of Agriculture (DA) would encourage Filipinos to raise their own food to lessen the country’s dependence on imported food.

“It is ironic that even upland people need to go to the city to buy eggs, when they can raise their own chickens,” Piñol said.

He stressed that a nationwide immunization and vaccination program for chickens would be imposed "before we start distributing native chickens," saying “this is where the challenges start.”

During the forum, Piñol assured local government officials of the delivery of one unit of multiplier farm in order to increase the number of native pigs in the province.

He encouraged local government officials to plant trichanthera as an alternative ingredient for animal feeds as he promised to provide Kalinga 50 native pigs, five males and 45 females. These will be taken from the DA farm in Tiaong, Quezon, he said.

The trichanthera is cheaper than the commercial feeds and it is organic, Piñol said.

“In my farm, I am using trichanthera and sometimes mix it with husks and my pigs really grew healthy and heavy,” he added.

Piñol also allotted P50 million for the implementation of the Production Loan Easy Access program in the province.

Piñol also visited the 15-kilometer farm-to-market road that connects the town of Bulanao to Amlao.

The project, which costs P196 million, is funded under the Philippine Rural Development Project and is expected to be completed this year.

During his trip to Kalinga province, the Department of Agriculture Cordillera Administrative Region also awarded P2 million worth of farm assistance to three farmers group from Balawag in Tabuk, Kalinga.

The farm assistance includes 10,000 pieces of Arabica Coffee seedlings worth P150,000 to the Loccong Gardeners Association, 50,000 pieces of Robusta Coffee seedlings worth P750,000 to the Tubog Agri-Processors Association, 50,000 pieces of Robusta Coffee and 10,000 bags of organic fertilizers worth a total of P1 million to the Tanudan Savings and Lending Cooperative.

“It is the DA's vision that you won't have to import coffee from other cities, and instead we will set-up your own nurseries,” Piñol told the farmer-beneficiaries.

He also encouraged the province's farmers to consider planting rubber trees, noting the province is conducive to rubber. (PR)