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A possible hog project in Ilocandia

A possible hog production program in Ilocos Norte has excited Gov. Imee Marcos because her province is in short supply of pork especially for making the famous bagnet and Ilocos longganisa.

When she learned that Ronald Costales had made his presentation about the hog project before officials of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the lady governor was so upbeat. She said that there is a big demand for bagnet and Ilocos longganisa by the big supermarkets in her province but there is not enough supply. That’s because hog-raising has been hampered by the high cost of feeds.

  • ORGANIC HOG PRODUCTION IN ILOCOS – The undertaking of a program of organic hog production in Ilocos Norte is a possibility in collaboration with the Department of Social Welfare and Development. This will involve the beneficiaries of the government’s 4Ps program who will be assisted in fattening organically grown hogs. The 4Ps program targets to help the very poor families to improve their economic situation through education of their children and development of livelihood opportunities for the parents. Very recently Ronald Costales, an award-winning organic farming entrepreneur, has presented the scheme to officials of the DSWD in Region 1. The hog fattening scheme is similar to the one he is already implementing in collaboration with the DSWD in Region 4 or Southern Tagalog. Photo shows pigs being raised the organic way.

    ORGANIC HOG PRODUCTION IN ILOCOS – The undertaking of a program of organic hog production in Ilocos Norte is a possibility in collaboration with the Department of Social Welfare and Development. This will involve the beneficiaries of the government’s 4Ps program who will be assisted in fattening organically grown hogs. The 4Ps program targets to help the very poor families to improve their economic situation through education of their children and development of livelihood opportunities for the parents. Very recently Ronald Costales, an award-winning organic farming entrepreneur, has presented the scheme to officials of the DSWD in Region 1. The hog fattening scheme is similar to the one he is already implementing in collaboration with the DSWD in Region 4 or Southern Tagalog. Photo shows pigs being raised the organic way.

  • POTENTIALS OF COLORED RICES – Photo at left shows the cover of the January 2016 issue of Agriculture Magazine. The potentials as well as the challenges that confront the producers and other stakeholders of the colored rice varieties are highlighted in the issue. There are constraints why smallholder farmers cannot go all out in planting the colored varieties for their own practical reasons. At right are the husband and wife tandem of Julio and Rosalie Mirasol who are growing colored rice in Moises Padilla town in Negros Occidental. The January issue of the magazine will be out shortly.

    POTENTIALS OF COLORED RICES – Photo at left shows the cover of the January 2016 issue of Agriculture Magazine. The potentials as well as the challenges that confront the producers and other stakeholders of the colored rice varieties are highlighted in the issue. There are constraints why smallholder farmers cannot go all out in planting the colored varieties for their own practical reasons. At right are the husband and wife tandem of Julio and Rosalie Mirasol who are growing colored rice in Moises Padilla town in Negros Occidental. The January issue of the magazine will be out shortly.

  • PURPLE CAMOTE TOPS – Photo shows a camote variety with purplish tops that are deeply segmented, a characteristic that some consumers are looking for. Being colored, the tops  are said to contain more antioxidants than the non-colored ones. The tops are nutritious and could be used in making leafy salads or in some other local dishes. Producing shoots or tops for sale can be a profitable little business for farmers. The capital needed is very small and harvesting could be throughout the year, hence a cash flow that is continuous.  Alugbati is another vegetable that can be planted for its shoots for sale in the market or for use in the home.

    PURPLE CAMOTE TOPS – Photo shows a camote variety with purplish tops that are deeply segmented, a characteristic that some consumers are looking for. Being colored, the tops are said to contain more antioxidants than the non-colored ones. The tops are nutritious and could be used in making leafy salads or in some other local dishes. Producing shoots or tops for sale can be a profitable little business for farmers. The capital needed is very small and harvesting could be throughout the year, hence a cash flow that is continuous. Alugbati is another vegetable that can be planted for its shoots for sale in the market or for use in the home.

  • MODERN AZTEC SPIRULINA GROWING FACILITY – Napoleon ‘Pol’ Puente is an engineer who used to be in the construction business but who has shifted his focus on spirulina production and put up the Aztec Spirulina Company. Spirulina is a blue-green algae that is claimed to be the most complete food in the world as pronounced by the United Nations. Puente has put up his modern spirulina farming facility in Cainta, Rizal and is commercially producing spirulina capsules, granules, and five-in-one coffee with mangosteen extract, spirulina, coffee, sugar and cream. The Aztec spirulina products contain as much as 72% protein and are increasingly becoming popular with health-conscious persons.

    MODERN AZTEC SPIRULINA GROWING FACILITY – Napoleon ‘Pol’ Puente is an engineer who used to be in the construction business but who has shifted his focus on spirulina production and put up the Aztec Spirulina Company. Spirulina is a blue-green algae that is claimed to be the most complete food in the world as pronounced by the United Nations. Puente has put up his modern spirulina farming facility in Cainta, Rizal and is commercially producing spirulina capsules, granules, and five-in-one coffee with mangosteen extract, spirulina, coffee, sugar and cream. The Aztec spirulina products contain as much as 72% protein and are increasingly becoming popular with health-conscious persons.

  • A VERY ATTRACTIVE EGGPLANT – Photo shows a very attractive eggplant from Known-You Seed in Taiwan with its very delicate-looking striped pink color.  Actually, this is just one of the many varieties in the collection of the giant seed company in Taiwan. For instance, there is one very unusual purple variety with fruits that are as long as almost two feet. Then there are the whites which come in very small, medium and large sizes. Some are cylindrical while others are round and some are flat. There are many others coming in different shapes and colors. Of course, not all of them have been released for commercial planting but they are important genetic materials for the production of desirable new hybrids.

    A VERY ATTRACTIVE EGGPLANT – Photo shows a very attractive eggplant from Known-You Seed in Taiwan with its very delicate-looking striped pink color. Actually, this is just one of the many varieties in the collection of the giant seed company in Taiwan. For instance, there is one very unusual purple variety with fruits that are as long as almost two feet. Then there are the whites which come in very small, medium and large sizes. Some are cylindrical while others are round and some are flat. There are many others coming in different shapes and colors. Of course, not all of them have been released for commercial planting but they are important genetic materials for the production of desirable new hybrids.

  • EXCITED ABOUT THE PROSPECTS OF PIG PROJECT – Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos (left) is excited about the organic hog production scheme that Ronald Costales (right) has proposed for the Ilocos in collaboration with the Department of Social Welfare and Development. This is the same as the project funded by DSWD in Southern Luzon which is currently being implemented with the technical know-how of Costales who is an award-winning organic farming entrepreneur and accredited as a private technology provider in organic farming by the Agricultural Training Institute of the Department of Agriculture.

    EXCITED ABOUT THE PROSPECTS OF PIG PROJECT – Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos (left) is excited about the organic hog production scheme that Ronald Costales (right) has proposed for the Ilocos in collaboration with the Department of Social Welfare and Development. This is the same as the project funded by DSWD in Southern Luzon which is currently being implemented with the technical know-how of Costales who is an award-winning organic farming entrepreneur and accredited as a private technology provider in organic farming by the Agricultural Training Institute of the Department of Agriculture.

The scheme that Costales, an award-winning organic farming entrepreneur, had presented to the DSWD people is the same project that he is currently implementing in Region 4 or Southern Luzon. This is one project that will enable the participants to become successful in raising pigs at less cost and therefore hog-raising becomes a profitable source of income for the rural families.

In Region 4, a total of 50 beneficiary families under of the 4Ps program of the government are participating. While the main target of the program for the poor families is education of their children, the Costales concept will train  the parents to engage in income-generating livelihood projects, and in this particular case, the Costales way of raising hogs.

Here is how the scheme works. The DSWD provides the funds of P20,000 per participant. This is for buying three weanlings for fattening by the participant plus the cost of simple housing using the new technique of raising pigs the organic way. Other expenses are for the feeds and the professional fee of the group of Costales who will train the participants on the different aspects of raising pigs the non-conventional way.

No cash will be given directly to the participants. They receive the weanlings, the housing, and they are also taught how to formulate their own feeds using locally available materials that are fermented for better palatability and higher nutritional value.

The participants will be taught about plants that they can grow themselves to help reduce the volume of formulated feeds given to the hogs. This could be the planting of nutritious forage crops like Super napier, indigofera, madre de agua, ipil-ipil and the like. These green feeds are good supplements to reduce cost of production.

Jess Domingo of Ifugao who learned the technology of producing fermented feeds from Ronald Costales has proven that he can make more than P5,000 net profit from each fattened hog after raising the same up to 90 kilos in 5 to 6 months. He revealed that his feeds cost only P10 per kilo compared to the P25 or more per kilo of the premium hog feeds produced by commercial feedmills.

Domingo uses a lot of rice bran which is readily available to which he adds little amounts of copra and soya plus chopped water hyacinth (water lily to most Filipinos) and some minerals. He ferments his feeds in tightly closed plastic drums.

MARKETING – In the Region 4 project, Costales will buy all the organically fattened hogs at a premium price of P10 higher than that obtaining in the market. He even adds an additional R5 per kilo that he buys but which the farmer will only receive at the end of the year. That means forced saving for the farmer which he can use for Christmas or for some other purposes.

What happens to the proceeds of the sale? The farmer beneficiary keeps it all. It is all his or hers. Currently, the market price is R115 to R120 per kilo, depending on the locality. If the farmer has raised his three weanlings to 80 kilos each and sold at P115 per kilo, that’s R9,200 per head. That also means P27,600 for the three fatteners. He keeps all the P27,600 to buy the weanlings he will use in the next growing cycle.

The DSWD has another bonus for the successful growers. They will be given 30 day old chicks free for raising in the backyard.

If the program pushes through in the Ilocos, Costales does not have to buy all their production. As Gov. Marcos has said, there should be no problem marketing the hogs raised by the beneficiaries. After all, there is a big demand for making bagnet and longganisa. The provincial government can make it as a special marketing strategy to promote bagnet and Ilocos longganisa outside of the province. These products can be marketed in places like Metro Manila.

MOST IMPORTANT – What is very important is that, the non-conventional technique of hog-raising as advocated by Costales could be picked up by other Ilocano farmers (non-P4 beneficiaries). If that happens, hog-farming can flourish in Ilocos. Not only the farmers but also the traders, sellers and the consuming public will benefit.