FARMS operated by the Provincial Government of Negros Occidental, through the Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO), have generated a total income of about P3 million in 2020.

The figure is 13.7 percent higher compared to the income earned in 2019, the PVO reported.

Provincial Veterinarian Renante Decena said the substantial increase is mainly attributed to the sales of live animals such as sheep and cattle amounting to P1.2 million.

Decena said there was an increasing number of interested farmer-entrepreneurs who have worked for progress amid the "new normal" condition brought by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

These raisers have seen the potential of livestock and poultry raising as a means of alternative livelihood to sustain their family income, he added.

Other sources of income account for the sale of farm products and services including free-range chicken, dairy cattle, dairy products, liquid nitrogen, pekin ducks, dairy training, eggs, and farm wastes manure.

Decena said the increase in farm income suggested that products and services catered and rendered by the provincial farms are essential and highly patronized by partner-stakeholders like local government units (LGUs), associations, private individuals and neighboring provinces.

Managed and operated by the PVO, the two provincial farms in the province are the Negros First Ranch (NFR) at Barangay Sta. Rosa in Murcia and Provincial Livestock Breeding Center and Dairy Farm (PLBCDF) at La Granja in La Carlota City.

They were able to reach their targets despite many challenges encountered last year due to extended lockdowns implemented in light of Covid-19 threat, he said.

In 2020, the province was able to launch the Abanse Negrense Cow Fresh Milk and Yogurt Ice Cream with mixed fruits.

These were produced and processed at the PLBCDF, and were able to provide bottled flavoured milks to front liners of La Carlota City and the Provincial Incident Management Team during the Enhanced Community Quarantine.

Decena said that for this year onward, the PVO is committed to increase farm productivity, farm revenues and reduce costs.

"We are in continuous aspiration to sustain livestock and poultry industry as well as expand product and service delivery that are produced and provided by our very own provincial farms," he added.