Caraga Swine Industry Strengthens Dev'ts Efforts

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Amy Eguia of the International Training Center on Pig Husbandry (ITCPH) demonstrates how to get semen samples to be examined under the microscope during the weeklong training on Swine Artificial Insemination (AI) on August 13-17, 2018 at Sta. Josefa, Agusan del Sur. The training event that was hosted by the Agusan del Sur Farmers Producers Cooperative (AFPC) is a partnership of Winrock International-Philippine Cold Chain Project (WI-PCCP), Agricultural Training Institute (ATI)-Regional Training Center in Caraga and ITCPH-Lipa. Photo by Jun Ayensa
Butuan City – Swine industry players in Caraga have taken a step to consolidate and strengthen development efforts to increase the region’s hog productivity and trade. It started in April this year when more than ten swine value chain actors (raisers, traders, micro-finance institutions, input suppliers) took the challenge to be part of a working group that will lead the swine sector development in Caraga.

This happened during a two-day workshop in Surigao City on April 19-20, 2018 that was participated by hog industry players, organized by the Philippine Cold Chain Project (PCCP), a five-year program implemented by Winrock International and funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The workshop that sought to assess the industry’s status and explore opportunities to increase productivity and expand trade revealed five key industry problems. Caraga region, which contributes only 1.5% of swine production in the entire country and 5.5% in Mindanao according to the Department of Agriculture, experiences low productivity, high production cost, lack or minimal financial support, and pricing mechanism problems, thus favoring importation of hogs and meat products from other regions in the island- the fifth key problem identified. Causes of such problems were attributed to poor genetic performance, lack of facility, swine industry not a priority and lack of technical knowledge, among others the group revealed.

A delegation from the Province of Batangas led by Unified Hog Raisers of Batangas, Inc. or UNIBAT and the LGU of Tanuan participated in the event. The group provided the history of the hog industry in Batangas, their challenges and how it became one of the leading provinces in the country with a billion-peso industry. The interaction between UNIBAT and swine group in Caraga provided a venue for exchange in learning.

Caraga Swine Industry Dev’t Working Group: Taking the initial steps

Winrock PCCP supports the Caraga Swine Industry Development Working Group in developing plan that provides continuous dialogue to pursue activities among stakeholders. The Agricultural Training Institute (ATI-RTC13) and the Department of Agriculture in Caraga, on the other hand, have provided support to the group as the Secretariat in future activities and events. In recent Strategic Planning Workshop, the group has formulated their vision: “A sustainable, competitive and viable Caraga Swine Industry towards productivity and resilience” and Mission: To promote viable and improved technology and increased capacities of Swine Value Chain Actors for increased productivity to widen economic opportunities.

Major activities of the swine working group have already taken place. The group went for a three-day learning visit in Batangas, in coordination with the UNIBAT and the International Training Center for Pig Husbandry (ITCPH) on July 26-28, this year. Recently, the region-wide Swine Artificial Insemination Training, spearheaded by the group and supported by PCCP and ATI, benefited 30 swine raisers, boar handlers and agricultural technicians from the five provinces in the region, on August 13-17, 2018. The AI training was deemed significant for the working group to create awareness on the importance of AI in improving quality genetics of pigs and increasing productivity. Participants, however, expressed that one of the limiting factors for raisers to adopt AI, is the lack of facility. They are hopeful that there will be more AI centers who can accommodate swine raisers in different parts of the region. The training was hosted by the Agusan del Sur Farmers and Producers Cooperative (AFPC) in Sta. Josefa, Agusan del Sur. The AFPC operates a feed mill and AI Center which supports its swine raiser-members. Meanwhile, Ms. Luzvisminda Señagan, AFPC Chairman is the acting Caraga Swine Industry Dev’t Working Group leader.

USDA sponsored an event on August 24, 2018 in Malvar, Batangas. Seven members of the Caraga Swine Working Development Group, as well as members and officers from Unified Hog Farmers of Batangas Inc (UNIBAT), National Federation of Hog Farmers, Inc, and key government officials from the National Meat Inspection Service and local government units of Batangas attended the Value Chain Benchmarking and Competitiveness of the Philippine Hog Industry - Improving Food Safety and Cold Chain. The main topic of the seminar which was facilitated by Florence Mojica-Sevilla of the University of Asia and the Pacific provided the participants with appreciation and knowledge on conducting a value chain analysis and benchmarking to achieve profitability and competitiveness in the swine industry. Jun Ayensa, Technical Director of Winrock-PCCP shared the USDA-funded project’s interventions in Caraga and its outcomes that contributed to increased productivity and trade in the region.

Future steps

Another major event is yet to take place in Caraga. Aside from working towards institutionalizing the group, the first Caraga Swine Summit will take place in October, this year. The activity seeks to gather key swine value-chain actors from the different parts of the region. The event will create a dialogue towards addressing pressing problems in the industry, as well as taking advantage of both private and government support, fostering entrepreneurship, adopting good animal husbandry and practices and applying a strong value-chain approach. Irish Jane Calungsod/PCCP

If you want to get involved, please contact Winrock International-Philippine Cold Chain Project at (085) 342-0837 or send your email at pccp.info@winrock.org

This article was also published in Mindanao Daily News (September 6, 2018)