AN INCREASING NUMBER of people, farmers and consumers alike, are getting interested in our native pigs. Practically all of them are black. They are normally smaller than the white imported breeds. And they grow slower, too.
BETTER TASTING? – Just the same, many people go for the native black pig. It is claimed that the native pig is better-tasting, be it made into lechon or into tapa and other pork preparations.
MANY STRAINS – Did you know that there are so many strains of native pigs in the country? Yes, there are, and they differ in many distinct ways. Some come from Marinduque, others from Bicol, Jolo, Quezon, Kalinga in the Cordillera region and others.
RAISED IN TIAONG – The different strains of native pigs are being raised at the National Swine and Poultry Research and Development Center, an agency of the Department of Agriculture based in Tiaong, Quezon. It is headed by Dr. Rene C. Santiago, a veterinarian.
KALINGA STRAIN IS BIG – During our recent visit to NSPRDC, we were particularly interested in the Kalinga strain which is quite big, long-bodied and with long snout. The long snout is a minus point as far as the lechon makers are concerned. They want their lechon to have short snout, for what reason we are not really sure.
2 DESIRABLE TRAITS – There are two major desirable traits of the Kalinga black pig. One is that the animals are docile, hence the farmer will find it easy to take care of them. Another important trait is that they are prolific and with good mothering ability. They give birth to ten or more piglets each time they farrow.
CROSSING WITH OTHER STRAINS – The experts from NSPRDC have been crossbreeding the different strains to come up with a composite animal possessing the different desirable characteristics from each strain. Actually, they have been successful to develop crosses that are uniform in size and with other good traits.
PROFITABLE TO RAISE – Raising the black native pig can be profitable for a number of good reasons. They seem to thrive better when they are not confined in a cemented pen so the housing is not costly. They can be raised in an enclosure with a bedding of rice hull, coco dust and other similar materials. They don’t have to be fed with the expensive commercial feed.
FARMER CAN MAKE HIS OWN FEED – The farmer can concoct his own feed with rice bran a main ingredient and a little copra and corn if available. What can further cut feed costs is the use of forage crops like madre de agua, vegetable scraps, ipil-ipil and even azolla as supplementary feed. The NSPRDC has a showcase for producing azolla using a small pond lined with plastic. The azolla is a nutritious feed not only for pigs but also for chickens.
PROFIT PROSPECTS – As a business, one can specialize in producing piglets for sale to other growers. The usual price per piglet is P2,000 each, depending on the seller and buyer. Another specialization is to produce lechon-size animals for sale to lechon makers. Still another is to select piglets for sale as breeders. The last one is to produce slaughter animals for sale to traders that could be processed for added value into longganisa, tapa, tocino, sisig, special cuts and others.
ONE MORE OPPORTUNITY – Yes, native pig production is one more possible money-making project for agri-entrepreneurs.