The Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) plans to implement a five-year P850-million livestock dispersal program before end-2023 to augment the coconut farmers’ income through a partnership with the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA).
BAI director Rene Santiago said during the recent Animal Health Congress the budget for the livestock program is about P166 million per year for five years.
“It is now under process with the procurement. There is already a supplier for chicken, native pigs and goats,” he said.
The five-year program will make a significant difference in the lives of coconut farmers who own or tend not more than five hectares of coconut farms.
“We, in DA’s Livestock Group and with the leadership of Secretary [Francisco] Tiu Laurel, all follow the same mission to help raise income of farmers among whom coconut farmers are the poorest. Teaching them how to raise animals will make so much difference in their ability to earn income for their families,” said Agriculture Undersecretary Deogracias Victor Savellano.
The PCA is in the process of identifying beneficiaries that may include leaseholders or tenants farming not more five hectares and farm laborers, whether occasional or itinerant, who are harvesting coconuts or work with copra processors.
The government expects a successful adoption of animal raising technology among coconut farmers.
“We are already integrating training of coconut farmers on how to raise animals. Farmers need to sign a form, and they need to declare that they have undergone trainings and seminars in order to start an animal raising business,” Santiago said.
The Veterinarians League of the Philippines (VLP) said previous livestock dispersal programs failed in the absence of support systems to help crop farmers run livestock and poultry businesses.
To avoid repeating the same mistakes, the plan is to involve provincial veterinarians who can educate farmers before the program rolls out.