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Raise Pigs, Chickens the Organic Way, Says BAI

by 5m Editor
15 September 2010, at 8:24a.m.

PHILIPPINES - Recent findings and evaluations by the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) show that a plant scientifically known as <em>Trichantera gigantea</em> can be used economically for the production of organic pigs and chicken. Whole leaves of Trichantera could be fed to pigs but need to be chopped for chicken.

Research at the BAI's National Swine and Poultry Research and Development Center (NSPRDC) in Tiaong, Quezon, showed that pigs fed Trichantera at 20 per cent level of replacement of commercial feed in growing-finishing rations produced cheaper liveweight gain, with cost per kilogram gain lower by two pesos (PHP) compared to those fed a 100 per cent commercial ration. Pigs in both rations have similar liveweight gain and meat quality.

Trichantera is also palatable to and good for chicken and ducks. Ricky Malolos of St Tomas, Batangas, raises native chicken and ducks but could only feed Trichantera to his free-range chicken due to limited area for growing the plant. He feeds chicken, with 50 per cent Trichantera and 50 per cent commercial feed, which costs him an average of sixty centavos per head per day. Selling his chicken at five to six months old for PHP250 each, he gets an average net return of PHP100 per head. He just sold 500 head for PHP125,000 in June, which gave him an income of PHP50,000.

These results and observations prompted BAI Director Efren C. Nuestro to direct Dr Rene C. Santiago (Center Chief, NSPRDC) to go into massive propagation of the plant.

"Planting materials of Trichantera should be made readily available to enable farmers to benefit from the results of our research," Mr Nuestro said, following his recent visit to the Center and Ricky's farm. "This is consistent with the new Department of Agriculture's programme on organic farming," he added.