How can we prepare for the Asean integration which will start next year? We mean the free flow of products sans tariff among the members of the Southeast Asian Nations. How can we become more competitive?
One approach is to reduce the cost of production of various agricultural products so that we can compete in the marketplace. Another way is to produce high quality products that will be sold at very reasonable prices.
In the case of pork, one way of reducing the cost of production is to go organic, producing fermented feeds just like Jess Domingo of Ifugao who can make a profit of more than P5,000 per head in a growing period of 6 months. The same is true with what Ronald Costales of Costales Nature Farms in Majayjay, Laguna, has been doing and has been discussing in his seminars.
By the way, the next schedule of Ronald’s seminar on organic pig production will be on February 7 to 8, 2015.
In this seminar, attendees will not only listen to lectures by Ronald himself. They will also undergo hands-on practice in various activities in starting one’s organic pig production project.
For instance, they will have first-hand experience in preparing the housing for the pigs. Unlike the conventional piggery where the floor is made of concrete, Ronald will show how to prepare the flooring using rice hull, sawdust or some other suitable waste materials available in the farm.
One can already reduce the cost of housing because no cement floor is necessary. The pigs raised on rice hull flooring don’t have to be bathed so there is also saving in water. The usual foul smell in the traditional piggery is absent with the use of effective microorganism.
The attendees will also learn to formulate cost-effective feeds for the growing pigs. Like in the case of Jess Domingo who trained at the Costales Nature Farms, he formulates fermented feeds using a certain percentage of chopped water hyacinth gathered from his pond, rice hull , copra and a few others.
At the Costales Nature Farms, Ronald will also teach the attendees how to prepare silage for the animals. Right now, Costales is growing the Super Napier which he feeds to his pigs as fresh forage or in the form of silage. Silage is fermented feeds that could include grasses, corn ears and stover and many others.
Ronald is effective in sharing his know-how in organic pig production. One beneficiary is Francisco C. Mabanta of the Manila Bulletin who attended Ronald’s seminar earlier this year. Mabanta has already put up his own organic pig project in Tarlac. He is so excited about the fast growth of his pigs so that some neighbors are also intending to follow his technique learned from Costales.
ATTENDING FARM TOURS – Besides attending seminars, one other way by which farmers can become more competitive is to join farm tours. The AANI Group, for instance, is continually conducting farm tours so that farming enthusiasts can observe the techniques of successful agri-people.
One should also watch for harvest festivals or field days conducted by agribusiness companies. Just like what Allied Botanical Corporation has been conducing in the last few years.
We understand that come February 12, the company will hold a field day in its experimental farm in Tayug, Pangasinan.
During the field day, visitors will have a first-hand encounter with the latest varieties being developed by the company or the latest varieties from seed companies abroad that they are distributing.
Usually, Allied Botanical also invites visitors to see the latest varieties that they are promoting in their experimental field in Benguet. Last February, the guests in Benguet witnessed the many new varieties of lettuce, sweet pepper, tomato, cabbage, cauliflower, radish and others.