LEGAZPI CITY—“If Nabua, Bato and Baao are the commercial egg capitals of the Bicol Region, this program will make Legazpi City the capital of Free-range chicken and egg in the whole country. Babahain natin ang bansa ng free-range chicken.”

This was the message of OIC-City Veterinarian Dr. Emmanuel V. Estipona to more than 1,200 farmers from 70 barangays in Legazpi City who attended the Project Launching and Training on Free-Range Chicken on January 22, 2020 at the Legazpi City Convention Center here. The project is part of the Disaster Resiliency Through Diversified Farming Program of the Legazpi City Veterinary Office.

Legazpi City Mayor Noel E. Rosal considered this project “the start of an alternative source of income” because the Department of Agriculture has approved the initial budget of Php12M pesos to fund the four components of the program— Multiplier Breeder Farm/Research and Development; Hatchery with 3000-5000 egg capacity; Dispersal and Training Component; and Poultry Dressing Plant.

Agriculture Undersecretary for Consumer Affairs Ernesto S. Gonzales was the guest speaker of the program and was joined by Adelina Losa, chief of the Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division of the Department of Agriculture-5; National Meat Inspection Service-Bicol Regional Director Dr. Alex Templonuevo; Albay OIC-Provincial Veterinarian Dr. Pancho Mella; Legazpi City Councilor for Food and Agriculture Diego Obido; and Legazpi City OIC-City Agriculturist Shiela Nas.

These components will establish a fully-diversified farming to make the farmers, stakeholders as well as veterinary and agricultural services personnel, resilient. The project is hoped to improve and sustain livelihood and improve the livestock industry in Legazpi City.

Multiplier Breeder Farm/Research and Development Component

This major component will develop the poultry industry through research and development and genetic improvement of breeds that are disease resistant, will promote high production rate and good taste of chicken eggs.

Estipona disclosed that the first demo-farm will be in barangay Banquerohan in a two-hectare lot and that Mayor Rosal is targeting 25-30 hectares in barangay Mariawa for this component.

Feeds will be derived from leftovers from restaurants and groceries and will be based on organic feeding system.

Hatchery Component

The incubator has a capacity to hatch 3,000-5,000 eggs and is estimated to produce 5,000 chicks every 51 days (21 days incubation and 30 days brooding period). This project is likewise cost efficient and environmental-friendly since it will utilize renewable solar energy which can withstand prolong brownouts without affecting its hatchability.

The hatchery was designed by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

Dispersal and Training Component

The targeted 5000 eggs from the Multiplier Farm and Hatchery will be given out free to the 300-500 farmers. Each farmer will receive 20 chicks monthly. These farmer-beneficiaries will be trained on organic range chicken and/or livestock management technology before receiving the chicks to teach them on proper caring of the animals and making it sustainable and profitable. The City Vet Office will adopt a criteria and implement policies to ensure a fair and proper way of dispersal.

Vermiculture will be maintained by the project and will be positioned in the slaughterhouse of the city for propagation.

Trainings and skills development on Disaster Preparedness and Response, Mitigation Measures, Disaster Resiliency, Farm Management, Poultry/Livestock Raising and Diversified farming system will be conducted to farmers; and personnel of the Multiplier farm, Hatchery and Poultry Dressing Plant.

Poultry Dressing Plant Component

Estipona said that the Poultry Dressing Plant is the heart of the program and is hoped to make the program a profitable and sustainable livelihood in view of the growing demand for organic range chicken.

The plant will be funded by the Department of Agriculture-5 through the approval of Regional Executive Director Rodel P. Tornilla in 2021.

Legazpi City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Officer Miladee N. Azur also committed to allocate funds annually for this program.

In four or five years, this program will eventually become a revenue-generating project of the city with an expected monthly income of more than a million pesos with 1000 breeder stocks.

Rosal disclosed that a new building for organic products will be established in the future only if the Legazpeño farmer is “desidido at pursigido (interested and determined)” in this project. (jaysonmgonzales)