Pilmico Bolsters Backyard Livestock Raising Advocacy

A growing concern on the seeming imbalance between hog-raisers’ population and the growing meat – mainly pork – consumption has propelled feeds producer Pilmico Animal Nutrition Corp. (Pilmico), a subsidiary of Pilmico Foods Corp., to scale up the promotion of backyard livestock raising in the country.

Based on the company’s assessment, while the local livestock industry is predominantly small-scale or the backyard type, many players are deterred by lack of capital and technical know-how.

“We are here to change that,” stressed Pilmico President and CEO Sabin M. Aboitiz, noting that Pilmico aims to be its customers’ partner for growth by educating them on proper livestock backyard raising through the company’s Diamond Program.

The program focuses on key areas such as improved breeding and genetics, good management, complete healthcare, and excellent nutrition.

One way to educate the farmers will be through the hands-on trial Swine Project, which the company initially rolled-out earlier for a few local farmers to encourage sustainable backyard-raising as a family business.

Hendel Cabral, Pilmico Vice President for Sales and Sales Support said a decline in the number of backyard raisers has contributed to the scarcity in supplies of pork meat, prompting meat producers to import instead.

“Seventy percent of hog-raisers in the Philippines are backyard.  But statistics show an 8% decline from 9.8 million backyard raisers in 2008 to only eight million in 2013,” he told the participants during the 2013 Pilmico Poultry and Livestock Expo held in Lingayen, Pangasinan last May.

Cabral noted that many local farmers are accustomed to practices that prove to be unprofitable and unsustainable.

“We have noticed that a lot of backyard raisers have the capacity and the facility to raise pigs but a substantial number are vacant. They tend to get discouraged once their backyard farms do not yield. We are here to change that,” he said.

During the expo, Pilmico’s swine consultation station was swarmed by farmers who relayed some of the issues they encounter in backyard raising. “Most small-scale raisers turned out to be lacking in proper knowledge and skill about animal nutrition and management, even the maintenance of their facilities,” Cabral said.

Under the upcoming Swine Project’s trial period, the company will choose a number of livestock backyard raisers who will qualify as recipients of financing for both feeds and piglets, which they would raise into full-sized market hogs. Once ready, these would be sold together with the more than 6,000 marketable hogs from Pilmico’s own farm that it sells monthly.

The pilot study will be for about six months to a year to give the feeds producer enough time to assess the performance parameters of the pigs on a backyard level and identify areas for improvement.

Cabral said only 300 pigs monthly will be disseminated for growing to produce the market, and a minimum of about 100 to 200 on the sow level for breeding.

“We are currently sorting out the 500 inquiries we got during the expo for possible linkages. We will visit the ones we qualify as trial farms for 2014,” he shared.

He added that if the trial proves to be a success and the company is able to handle issues pertaining to financing, marketing, and other concerns, it would expand the project to reach out to more backyard raisers.

Pilmico is a subsidiary of Aboitiz Equity Ventures, the publicly-listed holding and investment company of the Aboitiz Group, which has major investments in power, banking, food, and land.

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