GOING ORGANIC: 
Innovations at the Provincial Veterinary Services Office

by Rio Cahambing


The native chicken tinola, the soup of choice for many rural Filipinos, will soon be making a comeback in the dining tables of Southern Leytenos. Going organic seems to be the trend now, not just in vegetable farming but in swine and poultry production too.

Leading us back to the basics is the Provincial Veterinary Services Office of Southern Leyte, which is pushing for organic swine and poultry production among local farmers and their organizations.

vet01PVSO Chief Dr. Francisco B. Cabarrubias explains. “The high costs of commercial feeds make it difficult for small farmers to engage in poultry or livestock production if they don’t have huge capital.

Organic poultry or livestock raising, on the other hand, uses cheap, readily available indigenous plants or herbs, at a much lesser cost. They themselves will grow the plants they will use as feeds. Besides, the meat of native chicken taste much better and is more nutritious than that of commercially-produced poultry.

The native chicken’s delicious, nutritious meat easily makes up what it lacks in size. And the soup it produces is not just authentically Filipino but a very effective and refreshing antidote to fever, colds, flu or hangover!

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Projects on raising both native chicken and turkey, are now being started in Bontoc, San Francisco and Saint Bernard. Recipient farmer organizations are provided with training centers cum poultry houses, incubators with back-up generators and 50 heads of native chicken for propagation purposes. Turkey raisers were also organized and they are provided with incubators and nets to enclose their area.

Project Coordinator Leohugo Duazo, detailed that these native chicken will be raised the “organic” way. That is, they will be free to wander inside a 300 sq. meter open space enclosed by a net --- a stark contrast to how commercial broilers are raised.

The poultry site revives raising native chicken the traditional way, where roosters, hens and chicks partake broadcasted rice or corn in the rural yard.

Raising native chicken and turkey the organic way is just one of the many innovative ways the PVSO have introduced to breathe life into the province’s meat industry.

vet03Up in the works, too, is organic swine production, with breeding facilities being constructed at the RKK Function House compound in Barangay Mambajao, Maasin City. The same methods will be applied where hogs are fed with indigenous plants and herbs such as camote tops, spinach, ipil-ipil leaves, rice brans, and others in contrast to the commercial feeds hog growers have long been using.

These natural plants will be chopped, mixed with rice brans and molasses, and rice wash. To complete the mixture, Indigenous Microorganisms or IMOs, and fermented plant/fruit juice are finally added. The mixture will be stacked from 4 to 7 days to allow it to ferment. And, voila, we have organic feeds ready to be devoured by these hungry hogs.

To achieve the objectives of organic farming for swine and poultry, the office actively conducts trainings and seminars among farmer organizations.

Among the organizations organized by the PVSO Community Development Organizing Team of Provincial Vet Dr. Cabarrubias, Livestock Project Coordinator Tirso Montehermoso, Vicente Orillo, Training Program Coordinator and Community Organizers Jerry Cutamora and Michael Galeon are the following:

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vet05The team targets to organize another 22 livestock farmers organizations province-wide this year.

vet06Meat processing, is also being looked at as another income producing venture, especially for women’s groups.

The PVSO is one of the most immersed departments of the Southern Leyte provincial government. Their services normally cater down to the grassroots level.

vet07Regular programs like the anti-rabies campaign, deworming and vaccination of cattle and swine, Animal Health and Artificial Insemination on Small and Large ruminants and dispersals of goat, swine and cattle, which they conduct province wide, often brought them to barangays in the hinterlands, and remote coastal communities.

vet08It has been a long way for PVSO – a compact team with broad veterinary concerns to address.But by continuing to make available their services to the people, the office is fulfilling its mandate to improve and enhance the province’s livestock and poultry industry by blending both tradition and new innovations.