Davao backyard hog growers to build P10-M feed mill plant

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DAVAO CITY — The Davao Backyard Swine Raisers Association is planning to construct a P10 million feed mill facility to lower the cost of backyard farmers and improve the biosecurity of small steads.

The association, which currently has about 150 registered members and is urging more backyard growers to join, will tap funding from the Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Credit Policy Council (DA-ACPC).

“Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel (F.) Piñol has agreed in principle to provide us with a P10 million loan for the feed mill project,” the group’s president, Filemon O. Santander, said in an interview with Businessworld.

Mr. Santander said the project is one of their solutions to avoiding outbreaks of African Swine Fever (ASF), which has affected up to 13 countries, including China, Ukraine, Russia, Poland, Romania, and Latvia.

The DA-ACPC, created through Executive Order 113, aims to synchronize all credit policies and programs of the department.

“We are in the process of creating a business plan which includes the production, distribution and marketing of the feed mill project as these are needed prior to the approval of our loan,” Mr. Santander said.

The association is looking at entering into a usufruct agreement with one of its members who owns land in Bunawan where the association intends to locate the feed mill.

Mr. Santander said the mill will require around 500 to 1,000 square meters, which can also house a production area and warehouse.

The association is also looking into the best design for the machinery and equipment that will most likely be sourced from local fabricators.

He said backyard swine raisers, which constitute about 65% of the industry, should be closely watched by the DA since they are most likely to feed their hogs with waste.

DA prohibits the use of food waste by hog raisers as it increases the risk of the introduction of potentially infectious diseases such as ASF and Foot-and-Mouth Disease or FMD.

Mr. Piñol issued Memorandum order No. 22 in Aug. 2018 prohibiting the use of catering food waste and leftovers from international and domestic airports and seaports.

“Backyard farmers engage in different types of feeding and while some growers now use commercial feeds they still use lamaw or food waste,” Mr. Santander said.

The prohibition on food waste is hard to enforce, especially if it comes from the farmer’s own household.

“You cannot blame the backyard hog raisers if they go for food waste since the cost of feed is high and it constitutes up to 70% of the costs,” he said.

“The government has to help us also because admittedly there is a very lax biosecurity among small farms,” he added.

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, as of October 2018, the country’s total swine production was 13.13 million head, of which 63.55% was from backyard farms.

Among the regions with the highest swine population, accounting for 55.55% of the country’s total inventory, are Central Luzon, CALABARZON (Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon), Western Visayas, Central Visayas, and Northern Mindanao. — Carmencita A. Carillo