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Cagayan Valley has embarked on a genetic improvement project on sheep and goats, producing better stocks that offer higher income opportunities for raisers. Fermin Diaz reports.

Cagayan Valley is known as one of the Philippines’ top corn producers, supplying the feed grain needs of the country’s thriving poultry and livestock industries.
"Meet the new kids in town"
By Fermin M. Diaz
Livestock and Meat (LaMB) Magazine

Cagayan Valley has embarked on a genetic improvement project on sheep and goats, producing better stocks that offer higher income opportunities for raisers. Fermin Diaz reports.

Cagayan Valley is known as one of the Philippines’ top corn producers, supplying the feed grain needs of the country’s thriving poultry and livestock industries. But unknown to many, this region up north is also working on a small ruminants breed improvement project which could someday make it the country’s chief source of high quality stock of goat and sheep.

The P10 million initiative begun in 1998 by a nine-member team from the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Unit 2 based in Gamu, Isabela. It aimed to develop a pool of genetically superior and adaptable breed of small ruminants for eventual dispersal to livestock raisers with limited capital. In 2004, the Bureau of Agricultural Research came in as an institutional partner, infusing P1 million to help keep the project going.

“Breeds of small ruminants available in the region, particularly goat and sheep, have inferior qualities compared to the existing breeds in the world market,” observed project team leader Gumersindo Lasam. “We felt the need to improve them through the application of various breed improvement strategies, so that’s how the project all started.”

Long process taken

The development process was long and tedious, taking years before desired results were achieved. It started with the shipment of St. Croix and Katahdin sheep purebreds and Boer goat purebreds from Australia to Cagayan Valley in 1998 and 2002, respectively, through a government-to-government deal.

This was followed by the evaluation of the productive and reproductive performance of the introduced breeds under the prevailing conditions of Region 2 to determine which among them have superior qualities that make them form part of a pool of elite stocks for a particular breed.

Part of this evaluation process was a careful selection of the buck intended to head a particular breed. This is important considering that the degree of improvement or deterioration of the buck’s progeny depends greatly upon him. Understandably, the one being chosen is the tallest and heaviest animal in the herd, has the ‘macho’ look , and is active and energetic. He is always ready to breed a doe in heat, and can arouse the sexual desire of an otherwise passive doe, thus increasing the percentage of females that are successfully bred each season.

In the same manner, the doe that would form part of the elite stock is selected with care and intelligence. First of all, her size and physical attributes are satisfactory. A good constitution is shown by the depth of her chest and bulkiness of the barrel. Her legs should be straight and strong while her udder should be large and wide with good size and well-placed teats. A good breeding doe should be motherly and solicitous for the well being of her kids. A doe with coarse head may be indifferent to her young and may actually be mean towards them.

Lasam , who is also the DA regional director for Cagayan, explained that to gain entry into the elite herd, qualified stocks should have at least records of multiple births and have demonstrated regularity of breeding. “Members of the elite herd are subjected to further screening for purification, taking into consideration the weights and sizes of their offspring,” he pointed out.

The next move was identifying the outstanding characters in each breed and upgrading the existing breeder base of small ruminants through breeder loan packages for farmers. At this point, project proponents have started to develop, evaluate and identify superior crosses and breeds for mass production and distribution to farmers and qualified raisers. Alongside all these, they established multiplier farms for purebred stocks for use in the production of superior crosses.

Good initial results

After eight years of research and development, the project has done remarkable accomplishments, even if some of its desired goals have yet to be attained. From the union of 64 Boer goats imported from Australia, some 36 island born stocks had been produced to form the F1 population..

Project team members said that although not one of these offspring carried good characters like higher kidding percentage and occurrence of multiple births, some 51 of the 64 base Boer population had qualified to constitute the elite herd of Boer goats for Region 2.

Since 2004, the project has also produced 80 Boer bucks which were distributed in Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Batanes, Ifugao, and eight other areas. These males, in turn, had produced 806 upgraded goats (50 % Boer and 50% native) mostly owned by farmers, which proved to be heavier as they reached weaning and mature age, and which had longer bodies at maturity than their purely native counterparts.

Not all of them grew to maturity, though. Of the 806 upgraded goats, 236 had died for various reasons, mostly attributed to pneumonia. Mortalities among offspring have occurred at the pre-weaning stage. From the total of 80 bucks distributed, 25 had died of various causes, mostly diarrhea and paralysis.

The project has also established six multiplier farms for Boer breed in Cagayan, Isabela and Nueva Vizcaya that led to the production of 67 purebred Boer offspring and two multiplier farms for sheep which yielded 36 purebred offspring..

Likewise, it was able to distribute 51 Katahdin and St. Croix rams throughout the region, mostly in Isabela, resulting in the production of 821 upgraded sheep. Sadly, 120 of the offspring died mostly as a result of diarrhea, while 14 of the elite 51 rams succumbed to diarrhea and paralysis. In spite of the setback, efforts to increase the sheep population continues, project proponents said.

Strong demand for Boers

Since the animals were put on sale starting November 2005, buyers have been so eager in acquiring half-bred Boers, said team member Geronima Ludan. The ‘new kids in town’ were being sold at P5,000 per head only if they reach ten months. But since only a few of them reach marketable age at any given time, buyers were even willing to part their P5,000 for much younger kids. “Boers are such a big hit that farmers as far as Tarlac get them through outright cash, others through loan of at least five goats,” she exclaimed.

Ludan said a purebred Boer buck usually goes for P20,000 and the ewe for P15,000. But because these imported parent stocks are so in demand, DA officials have opted to auction them to the highest bidder to generate bigger revenues.

To raise public awareness and stimulate investment in the production of genetically superior small ruminants, the DA regional office has recently organized the first Cagayan Valley Goat and Sheep Exposition, held in Ilagan, Isabela, last May 9 and 10.

Future plans

With the experiences and initial results obtained from the project, team members are now bent on continuing their evaluation of the Boer breed to purify the established elite herd. They have also begun developing sheep crosses out of the established elite herd and embarked on closely monitoring the bucks and rams they had distributed.

The move is to ascertain their production and reduce, if not eliminate, mortalities. Animal health problems, notably diarrhea and pneumonia, have been bringing heavy toll on the goats, causing death to up to 30 percent of the population.

To address this concern, the team has bared plans to organize an active monitoring group composed of technical personnel who will at the same time provide technical assistance and render extension service as they carry out monitoring.

Among others, the team would also conduct a study to determine the causes of paralysis among purebred stocks as basis for formulating health and feeding program and to minimize these incidences among breeder stocks in the station and among those distributed to raisers.

“This project has still a long way to go to fully realize its goals,” said Lasam. “But we’re determined to succeed and make a difference.”

Editor’s Note: The preceding article appeared on pages 8 to 10 in the fourth issue of Livestock and Meat (LaMB) Magazine. It was submitted as entry to the first Bright Leaf Agriculture Journalism Awards in 2007 and won the top prize for being adjudged the Agriculture Story of the Year.
STA. MARIA, Ilocos Sur - Four towns and two government schools in the Ilocos Region have been chosen as pilot areas for the planting of sweet sorghum which is needed for extraction of ethanol for bio-fuel.

This developed after sweet sorghum was found to be a crop adoptable in the region with its soil and climate suited for sorghum. 
"Pilot areas for planting of sweet sorghum picked"
By Freddie Lazaro
Manila Bulletin

STA. MARIA, Ilocos Sur - Four towns and two government schools in the Ilocos Region have been chosen as pilot areas for the planting of sweet sorghum which is needed for extraction of ethanol for bio-fuel.

This developed after sweet sorghum was found to be a crop adoptable in the region with its soil and climate suited for sorghum.

Researchers said that sweet sorghum was found suitable for ethanol production. Ethanol, which is benzene and sulfur-free substance, is an environment-friendly fuel.

Presidential Assistant for Northern Luzon Enrie Mendoza identified the towns as Batac, Ilocos Norte; Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur; Rosales, Pangasinan; and Sto. Tomas, La Union.

The two schools are the Mariano Marcos Memorial State University (MMMSU) in Batac, Ilocos Norte, and the Ilocos Sur Polytechnic State College (ISPSC) here.

It was learned that MMMSU in Batac, Ilocos Norte was the site for seed production of sweet sorghum as well as the processing site of the extracted ethanol. The MMMSU is accredited by the International Crop Research Institute for SemiArid Tropics (ICRISAT) as seed producer for sweet sorghum for distribution to the farmers.

ICRISAT is a United Nations program based in India and is headed by a Filipino, former Agriculture Secretary William Dar.

The production of ethanol, a source of alternative energy, was initiated by the national government in line with the Biofuel Act signed into law by President Arroyo.

Mendoza said some 300 hectares of salty and idle lands would be tapped as pilot areas in Ilocos Region for sorghum growing and would be expanded with 1,500 hectares more if it is grown nationwide.

"There are other crops suitable for biofuel but sweet sorghum is the most convenient and beneficial crop for the farmers to produce," Mendoza said.

Other crops identified as potential source of biofuel were soya beans, ground nut, pigeon pea and jathropa.

Dr. Rick Raguindin, Research Coordinator on Sorghum Production in ISPSC, said that the maximum ethanol substance will be extracted from the stalks of the 50- to 60-day old sweet sorghum plants.

Raguindin said the farmers can raise sweet sorghum continuously all year round and harvest the crops three times in a year during a single planting season through ratooning.

He said that ratooning is the process of cutting the stalks of the plants to allow its new shoots to grow for the next harvest season.

He also said that sweet sorghum plant is easy to grow because it is a droughttolerant and can thrive in dry weather until the rainy season resume.

With ratooning, Mendoza said, a farmer could earn a net income of R90,000 a year per hectare from sweet sorghum production
ANG kasoy ay isa sa sinasabing pangunahing prutas o produkto ng Palawan. Ito ang karaniwang sinasabi ng mga taga rito sa tuwing may turistang gustong mag-uwi ng pasalubong sa kanilang lugar. Ngunit may pera nga ba sa kasoy?

Ito ang pangunahing tanong sa katatapos na Investment Forum on Cashew ng Department of Agriculture (DA)-Region IV-B na may temang “Cashing on Cashew” na ginanap sa Legend Hotel nitong Peb.

"There is money that ever cashew?"
By Joel Carl Contrivida
Bandillo Palawan

THE cashew is one of the main claims or products Queensland fruit. This is the theme of the meeting at whenever it wants tourists to take home presents in their place. But with money that ever cashew?

This is the main question in the recent Investment Forum on Cashew Department of Agriculture (DA), Region IV-B with the theme "Cashing in on Cashew" held at Legend Hotel this February 7. Attended by traders, suppliers, agriculturist and cashew farmers in the province and across the country.

The cashew or "cashew" in English (Anacardium Occidenatale L is the scientific name of it) is said to come from Brazil. Pinapaniwalaang went in South Asia particularly in the Philippines (and here in Palawan) by birds, bats, monkeys and more. Now almost all tropical countries have it.

Based on records, the cashew considered the second most important nut in the world followed by almond boung. And according to the record of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in 2005 the Philippines is in the 15th spot as top cashew PRODUCING countries, which leads to record the country Vietnam, India and Brazil.

In the Philippines, according to DA-Region IV-B Director Roberto Masbang, 90 percent of the country's cashew supply writings-province of Palawan. According to the records of the Provincial Agriculturist Office has 6,290,954 cashew trees across Queensland including municipalities in the island. In the Northern part of the city leading to sur Roxas and the city of Puerto Princesa with many plants that cashew. On the island municipalities in turn leads the Agutaya.

As well as the record has 2 classes or types of cashew in the world: the Yellow Yellowish Red Fruited variety and variety. Over time it had different types and shapes developed in the senysa by cultivation. Palawan has six classes usually visible. We know them now in the name of the discovered here. This is the kind of Mitra, Fernandez, Recto, Gonzales, Caliwag and Eleazar.

The message of the officers who attended the forum, said the representative of Kong. Antonio Alvarez of the first district of the province's cashew "Gold Nut" the Mimaropa region but do not hide the fact that many of its farmers are still poor until now. On the other hand the spokesman Kong. Abraham Mitra of the second district has long been waiting for innovative research and technology local cashew industry in Palawan. As the representative of Mayor Edward Hagedorn also named KGD. Gregorio said Austria dream to make "Cashew PRODUCING capital" of the country's Puerto Princesa.

What are the benefits to cashew

As alleged palm tree tree of life, the raw cashew nuts also equals the coconut so by given to people and the environment. The tree, supposedly, are good plants for reforestation especially in the land is not good for plant and rarely visited by rain.

Fruit or cashew apple is delicious to eat. It is also done with candy, syrup, wine, jams, pickles, and more. High level of ascorbic acid that five times more high in citrus.

The juice of the cashew apple can make vinegar and wine. It is a great drug to any abdominal pain, vomiting, insomnia and so on.

The seeds of the cashew or saying "kernel" it is often we see that as selling anything upward of tourists or visitors. It is usually bought as a parched, brittle, tart, and much more. The skin of the cashew tree is also source of ink for ink pen.

The cashew tree leaves become the root also known as alternative medicine for any kind of burn, diarrhea, toothache and more.

Why expensive price cashew?

Even here in Palawan is much to love the price of cashew. Should he said is more expensive the place we bought it for our products. But even the price is unpredictable and unstable.

According to a trader who attended the conference, the best taste of cashew U Palawan. He said initially the reason why the price of raw cashew love is hard and long process that needs to be done before it sold in the market. Second is the fact that four months this season's harvest or harvest a year. Mapipitas only the cashew fruit from February to May. The unsold cashew out of the month during the harvest the farmers kept waiting for expensive store. Now a kilo of cashew seeds that have not been bought natatangal shell P15 to P40 beams. While the whole kernels or those most cashew nut is available in the amount of P240 to P300, and the share or split cashew nuts are purchased from P120 to P200 per kilo's.

The common pathway of a selling process cashew starts with buying seeds. Ibibilad them to dry before defragmented kalukati or those pambiyak cashew seeds. After this susungkutin it to his house on the bone and tatanggalan Testa said second skin or those seeds of cashew. Then ibibilad them and wash. Ii steam to remove the itchy its taste and the next step is up to the cooked sell, the usually frying or pagsangag.

Problem cashew industry

According to Prof. Estrella equina Western Philippines University, 1980's already started researching their universities about cashew. They made different types of products from cashew but up to the present is still not sexual activities take off in his local market.

"Packaging the problems we wpu, no matter how wonderful it would be if we the product packaging is not ugly as well, hopefully there are investors or funding agencies to help us" said equina.

He said equina want to buy the apple cashew fruit or those usually thrown just farmers. But due to the limited capital funds and they are not they all do it. According equina estimated one million pesos they will wpu for mapakapag-making of great vessels and bottles for their products.

Even the small traders of cashew in the city is ugly aminadong their packaging. They also said no enough capital money to buy the fancy wrapping or to customize them. So what happens is they are forced to sell the cashew traders in Tokyo where it has good facilities and equipment to process the cashew until the re-pack it.

One effective technology chopping cashew seeds or those acts are Palawan innovative kalukati: This invention Palawenyong John Pontillas in wpu. This technology is used in various places in the country and current pinaparami and sale of a school in Central Luzon.

Asan Money with cashew?

According to businessman Henry Fernandez HMF general merchandize in Tokyo, actually have money in cashew. As the importer or select cashew, the capital of P10, 000 can reach 30% of the profit and sometimes still is 50% return on investment.

And tree planting cashew is the target niyo, With sweetness should know that after 3 years or more sometimes takes four to seven years before bearing fruit a cashew tree.

Presentation of the Provincial Agriculturist Office, a hectare planted 156 cashew trees are expected to be able to producing a 300-seed to a tree bearing fruit for the first time after three or four years. Estimated five thousand pesos or more of its income in the first three years of the fruit where the cost to be reduced Abuno, irrigation and hire people. Within ten years is expected to reach fifty thousand profit in nut, and based it on sale just bone and may not include earned from fruit or those of cashew apple.
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