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.
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 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 P5 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 P115 to P120 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 P9,200 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 nonconventional 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.